Lesson Title: Heavy Duty Topics
This lesson guide integrates a series of activities highlighting the difference between mass and weight.
• Distinguish between mass and weight.
• Demonstrate the use of an inertial balance.
• Evaluate the effect of mass and string length on the period of a pendulum.
Lesson Activities and Sequence
The suggested sequence starts by introducing students to the concept of microgravity then the distinction between mass and weight, and ends with a method of determining mass in the microgravity environment.
- Falling Weight Apparatus
Students use a simple apparatus to explore the difference between gravity and microgravity.
Keywords: gravity, weight, mass, center of mass, balance
- Mass vs. Weight
Students perform a series of experiments and compare their results to those of astronauts on the International Space Station. Stretching mass, air-powered mass and accelerating mass are the most relevant activities to this lesson.
Keywords: gravity, mass, weight, balance, inertia
Students explore the effect of mass and string length on the period of a pendulum.
Keywords: gravity, mass, pendulum, friction, motion
- Inertial Balance
Students calibrate an inertial balance and then use it to determine an unknown mass.
Keywords: gravity, balance, inertia, mass, weight
National Science Education Standards, NSTA
Science as Inquiry
• Skills necessary to become independent inquirers about the natural world.
• Motions and forces.
• Transfer of energy.
Science in Personal and Social Perspectives
• Science and technology in society.
Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, NCTM
Numbers and Operations
• Perform operations with multidigit whole numbers and with decimals to hundredths.
Measurement and data
• Represent and interpret data.
Expressions and Equations
• Reason about and solve one-variable equations and inequalities.
ISTE NETS and Performance Indicators for Students, ISTE
Creativity and Innovation
• Use models and simulations to explore complex systems and issues.