Our Weight / Mass Activities For Kindergarten, Pre Primary & EYFS Kids will help you teach your students how to weigh, compare and heft objects. Get some hands-on non-standard units of measurement lessons to make measuring mass and weight fun!
Before kids are introduced to measuring mass using formal measuring tools using scales, grams and kilograms they need to be taught the essential skills and steps of the measurement process, using non-standard measurement methods.
Non-standard measuring is the foundation of all measurement concepts that Kindergarten and Pre-primary students need to be taught. This process does not involve reading a graduated scale, instead the focus is on the steps and thinking involved in the measuring process and how to use units of measurement.
Read on to find out what you need to know about mass and teaching Non-Standard Measurement For Kindergarten & Prep kids.
What's the Difference Between Mass and Weight?
One of the most asked questions I get asked during math coaching professional learning sessions is “what’s the difference between Mass and Weight?” It’s a little confusing as the terms are used interchangably, so lets get this cleared up.
Teaching mass is about how heavy or light something is. The mass of an object is the amount of matter in an object and is measured in grams, kilograms or tonnes.
The term weight is often used interchangably with the term mass. Weight is actually a measure of the force of gravity acting on an object. But using the terms weight and mass interchangably is ok in the classroom. But if you want to be mathematically correct “Mass” is the correct term.
Read on to find out more about teaching mass and for some fabulous mass activities for Kindergarten and Preprimary Kids.
Related Post: Children’s Books For Teaching Measurement
Teaching Mass in Kindergarten & PrePrimary
Teaching measuring mass to students in the early years includes teaching children to:
- measure mass by hefting
- how to use a balance scale to compare 2 objects
- notice that the “heavy object goes down and the light object goes up.”
Mass activities for Kindergarten and Pre-primary aged students should not include counting how many marbles or other non-standard units an object weighs.
The idea of using a repeating unit to weigh an object comes in Year 2 in Australian schools. Please check your school curriculum for when to use non standard units to measure other attibutes of length, capacity, area etc.
When teaching mass in Kindergarten and Preprimary highlight the language of mass using everyday language to compare 2 objects including
- heavy, heavier, heaviest
- light, lighter, lightest,
- how to heft objects to compare heay and light
So what is hefting?
Hefting is an informal method of comparing the mass/weight of pairs of objects that needs to be taught to your students.
The hefting process involves holding an object in each hand and trying to decide which is heavier.
It’s quite a difficult skill to learn and your students will need plently of practice at it.
I love teaching students about non-standard units of weight and how to heft using a set of my homemade hefting tins, they include small heavy tins and large light tins, and a set of the same sized tins that are all different weights. I use them at mat time, in a centre and for assessment tasks and they are a big hit with the students!
Encourage students to swap the items over in their hands, close their eyes and have another person pop the items into their hands so that they can concentrate on the difference in their mass.
DIY hefting tins ar pretty simple to make using empty cans , sand and tape. My handy hint to make a small container very heavy is to use ‘lead’ roof flashing from the DIY store.