Focusing on the concepts FORM and FUNCTION, the students spent some time looking at how different scales work (balance scales, force meters, digital and mechanical kitchen and bathroom scales). They set about exploring, choosing a thinking routine to help focus their observations:

After having some time to ‘play’ the students started to look more closely at the scales and this generated questions that ranged from ‘What are lb? and ‘What would you measure in Newtons?’ to ‘How can the kitchen scales measure milliliters when that is about how much something can hold, not how heavy it is?’

We recorded these questions on the wonder wall to refer back to during the unit. At this stage the students were ready to get measuring so they created a list of questions to guide them. For example:

  • What is the heaviest/lightest object in the classroom?
  • Which scales are the most accurate?
  • Can I find two objects with very different sizes but the same mass?
  • Can I find two objects with very different mass but the same size?
  • What is the mass of water? This led to a bigger discussion as to whether fizzy water was lighter or heavier than still water.
  • Do all liquids have the same mass?

Next steps:

  1. Refine their use of mathematical vocabulary by looking at the difference between weight and mass and the different units of weight
  2. Give time to explore some of the initial questions on the wonder wall
  3. Make connections to previous work on decimals and fractions eg 1/2 kg = 500g = 0.5kg
  4. Put our measuring skills to good use in the Learning Kitchen

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