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Mass vs. Weight Activities

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The words Mass vs. Weight over an image of the space station with Earth in background



Grade Levels

Grades 5-8


Physical Science, Forces and Motion, Gravity, Microgravity


Lesson Plans / Activities, Other Multimedia

Students often confuse the terms “mass” and “weight.” Each activity in this series demonstrates the difference between mass and weight by comparing students’ results with the results of astronauts aboard the space station. Students perform the activities and analyze their data. Then they watch video of astronauts performing similar demonstrations on the station. The activities focus on Newton’s second law of motion.
As they complete these activities, students will do the following:

  • Demonstrate the difference between mass and weight.
  • Investigate careers in space exploration.
  • Learn about the international partnerships involved in the space station.

Activities in the series:
Introduction to Mass vs. Weight  [94KB PDF file]
Careers in Space  [328KB PDF file]
Stretching Mass  [144KB PDF file]
Air Powered Mass  [677KB PDF file]
Accelerating Mass  [340KB PDF file]
Design Your Own Experiment  [212KB PDF file]
International Partners  [846KB PDF file]