2. Investigating Weight

Cubes balanced on top of hands

This series of investigations focuses on weight as a property of matter and makes the transition from felt weight (as perceived with their hands) to compared weight using a pan balance. Students are asked “How good are our senses at measuring weight?” They hold one cube in each hand, and use “felt weight” to determine which is heavier. They move from sorting objects into light and heavy towards ordering them from lightest to heaviest. However, they encounter a challenge when two cubes are close in weight, and soon realize that when the weight of two objects is similar, felt weight breaks down. In this way, the case for measurement is made.


  1. How good are our senses at comparing the weights of the cubes?
  2. What does a pan balance tell us about the weight order of the cubes?
  3. How can we measure the weights of our cubes?
  4. How much heavier is one cube than another?

The Child and the Scientist

Concept Cartoon

Darwin from the Concept Cartoons

The Weight Concept Cartoon is typically used as a formative assessment after Investigating Weight 4