Investigating Standard Measures 3:

Do very tiny things have weight?

3. Discuss the weight of tiny things

All Class 5 Mins

Thought experiment

Small objects

Once it becomes impractical for students to further divide the pieces of plastic modeling clay, move the exploration to a thought experiment.

  • If we had tiny hands and tiny knives, how many more times do you think we could cut the bits of plastic modeling clay in half?

Have students imagine cutting their smallest piece on the weight line in half again. Have them make a mark with a pencil showing where it would go on the weight line. How many times do they think they could cut the plastic modeling clay and place the pieces on the weight line?

  • What if the weight line were really huge, like the length of our classroom? How many pieces of plastic modeling clay could you fit between zero and 1 gram?
  • What if the weight line were as long as the street in front of the school? Or as long as from here to China?
  • Do you think there is there a place on the weight line for every teeny, tiny piece of material?