In many ways, weight is an understood concept from early on. We all get the idea that some things are harder to pick up than other things. Actually weighing something, and observing that something small can weigh more than something large is a new idea for many children. This discover challenge has 2 different steps to get the idea of weight across in two ways.
Materials: scale (kitchen, bathroom, etc) objects of different weights from around the house, a piece of wood and a round piece of wood to make a seesaw to compare weights. Create the seesaw by positioning the piece of wood on a round block or other piece of wood so the wood is mostly balanced. Optional: Paper and pencil to track the weights.
Ask the children to collect lots of different items from around the house that they believe weigh different amounts. Show the children how to work the scales. Ask them to line up the items from heaviest to lightest. Go through each item and weigh the different objects, testing to see if they were able to predict the order correctly.
Now, using the seesaw scale, compare different objects to see which one weighs more. Put one object on one side and try to find which objects can be combined to balance the scale. Continue to explore the idea of weight by asking more questions.
Our discovery. Since Hadley and Finley are REALLY into numbers right now, they loved having a chance to use the scales and weigh things. For the most part they understood that some large objects are actually quite light. We had fun at the end piling things up to balance against the bowl.
At the end I asked them how much water weighs (they said nothing). When I poured water into the bowl, they saw instantly that it made the bowl heavier.