Today our focus is weight!
Children love to explore weight and use the balance scales in class to weigh and compare objects. However we know that at home you won't have access to the right kind of balance scales needed to do this. But never fear! We have the next best thing which is a spring weight!
Below are instructions on how to make and use a spring weight. All you need are strong elastic band, a carton (like from a juice or almond milk container for example), a hole punch or scissors to make holes, string, some masking tape and you've made a spring weight!
You will need to attach it to a surface (be careful not to place on painted surfaces or gloss surfaces in case the sellotape removes the finish if it falls off!).
Using four pieces of fruit and vegetables you can then begin to compare weight.
Then weigh...place an apple in the ʻbucketʼ and ask your child to describe what happens. Mark where the bucket comes to on the flip chart/wall...you can use a piece of masking tape for this so you can write what fruit/vegetable it was on it. Take the apple out.
Give your child the apple and a potato (or heavier fruit/vegetable). Ask "What do you think will happen if we put the potato into the bucket?"
Put the potato in the bucket, mark where it comes to and discuss with your child how the elastic band stretches more because the potato is heavier than the apple.
Repeat this activity using different fruit and vegetables. Remember to compare before placing in the scale as this helps your child develop the concept of heavy, light, heavier, lighter. You can compare an onion and a small piece of broccoli for example and ask children which they think is lighter and what will happen when we put them in the bucket.
Compare all four marks on the flip chart/wall and discuss which is the heaviest and which is the lightest of the four items. Place them in order so that visually they can see the order from lightest to heaviest.
Need a stepping stone?
Work with a smaller number of fruit and vegetables - around 3. Ensure that your child spends lots of time handling them first, one in each hand and really get them to focus on how they feel. Which one is heavier? Then compare these two on the spring. Spend lots of time talking about it - the heavier an item is, the lower the scale goes (this is the same for balance scales we use in school). Then when they are confident with that add in the third vegetable and compare. Order these from lightest to heaviest.
Need a further challenge?
You could add more fruit and vegetables into the comparison charts - start with 6. Give them a surprise couple of fruit and vegetables and see if they can place them in the correct place in the order of lightest to heaviest.