Monday, December 05, 2005

Triple Beam Balances

I taught my seventh grade class how to use the triple beam balances today. The activity was kind of stupid; I just had them list, predict, and then measure the mass of an assortment of objects, many of their own choosing. It's totally pointless, but kids like playing with the balances and this gives them a chance to just explore while practicing a skill, and possibly to begin to get a sense of what a gram feels like. It was actually a satisfying period with this rather difficult group of kids, I guess because it was easy, they'd used the balances a few times last year (to my pleasant surprise), and it was easy for me to check in with each student and make sure he or she had mastered the skill.

Tomorrow, on to density.


Anonymous ssames said...

No guilt. Teaching a skill is not stupid. Today I was in a similar situation. I got one of my classes to set up an experiment with 3 tubes in different temperature water baths for a diffusion experiment. The most difficult bit for them was building the equipment, clamps, stands, tripods, etc. I think noone must have ever got them to do a practical. ***sigh***

2:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always use something like that as my kickoff lab. I use the regular balances since I want them to use the gram counters and see the most efficient way to weigh things using them. Anyway, I use the lab to show how science information is collected in an orderly manner. I also use it as a way to demonstrate that some information we collect is factual and some is judgement. I use vegetables--onion, kiwi, banana, etc. have them weigh the item, note color, texture, scent, perimeter, etc.

11:00 AM  

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