Second Grade Weights and Balance Math: How to Make a Balance Scale

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Introduction to Scales

This math lesson plan involves using, identifying and creating a scale. To do this math lesson plan on scales you need the items listed below.

  • two scales. You can pick up a flat scale at the post office and a fish scale at most sporting good stores.
  • paper or Styrofoam cups. You need enough of these to give each student two cups.
  • rigid wire. You need enough of this to give each student about a twelve inch length.

Place both scales on a table where all students can see them. Introduce the scales to the students. Demonstrate how to use the scales. Discuss a variety of ways that scales can be used. Allow students to discuss where they have seen scales used. Now ask students to take out the wire, cups and a book.

Have each student place ten crayons in one of the cups. Now ask students to place their books so that they are “tented”. The spine of the book should be the highest part of the book. The book should be able to stand on its own. Now ask students to poke the wire through the cups so that there is a cup on either end of the wire. The wire should go all the way through so that it goes in one side of the cup and out the other side, or it will slide off the wire when you put weight in it.

Now have students place objects in the empty cup that they think will weigh less than ten crayons. A handful of cap erasers is a good way to start. Once both cups have items in them, place the “scale” across the spine of the book so that it balances in the middle with the students holding the heaviest cup to keep it from falling. Now ask students to let go of the cups so that they can see which cup weighs more. Repeat the experiment with something heavier than ten crayons. Discuss the project with your students. Ask them to go home and talk to their parents about different kinds of scales that they use in life.

This post is part of the series: Second Grade Math Lesson Plans for Measuring

This series is dedicated to lesson plans that begin with an introduction to measuring and extend through using specific measuring tools.

  1. Second Grade Math: Unit Measuring
  2. Second Grade Math: Measuring Tools
  3. Second Grade Math: How To Read a Ruler
  4. It’s Getting Hot in Second Grade Math: Let’s Use a Thermometer
  5. Second Grade Math: Scales and Math