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Tip the Scales

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Summary

Using coins as the standard of measure, students will estimate and check weights of classroom objects.

Coin Type(s)

  • Cent
  • Quarter

Coin Program(s)

  • 50 State Quarters

Objectives

Using coins as the standard of measure, students will estimate and check weights of classroom objects.

Major Subject Area Connections

  • Math
  • Science

Grades

  • Kindergarten
  • First grade

Class Time

Sessions: One
Session Length: 20-30 minutes
Total Length: 0-45 minutes

Groupings

  • Small groups

Terms and Concepts

  • Estimate
  • Weight
  • Balance
  • Value

Materials

  • Cents
  • Quarters
  • Balance scales (one per group)
  • “Tip the Scales” work pages (pages 24 and 25)
  • Pencils
  • Crayons

Preparations

Set up one weighing station per group that will include:

  • 1 balance scale
  • 1 set of objects to weigh (e.g., 1 glue stick, 1 chalkboard/whiteboard eraser, 1 package of markers, 1 small book)
  • Cup of cents
  • 1 quarter
  • Pencils and crayons
  • “Tip the Scales” work pages (pages 24 and 25), one per student

Worksheets and Files

Lesson plan, worksheet(s), and rubric (if any) at www.usmint.gov/kids/teachers/lessonPlans/pdf/245.pdf.

  1. Explain that the class will work in groups to estimate the weights of classroom objects, and then check their estimates at weighing stations. Review the terms “estimate,” “weight,” and “balance.”
  2. Display the “Tip the Scales” work pages (pages 24 and 25). Explain that everyone in the group will work together to weigh the objects and check the estimates.
  3. Sit at one of the work stations and explain that you will demonstrate the entire estimation/weighing process with a different item than the ones the children will work with.
  4. Hold up an eraser and ask a volunteer to estimate how many cents will weigh the same as the eraser. Write the estimate in the spaces provided on the work page.
  5. Place the eraser on the scale and ask students to remind you how many cents have been estimated to balance the scale. Start putting cents in the scale and count aloud.
  6. Add cents until the scale is balanced or the estimated number has been reached. (It may be necessary to explain what the scale should look like when it is balanced.)
  7. If the estimated number comes first, then discuss what happened, and whether or not the estimate has been confirmed. Then, add cents until the scale is balanced. If the scale balances before the estimated number has been reached, discuss how close the estimate was to the actual number of cents needed.
  8. Remind students that they will be weighing different classroom objects, and show them the objects they will work with.
  9. Assign groups and send each group to a station. You may wish to assign jobs (balancer, counter, cent dropper) within each group, so that every child participates. Students could then rotate jobs with each new object.
  10. Allow students 25 minutes to complete the tasks. When time is called, ask students to share how close their estimates were, and what surprised them during the activity. You may wish to discuss the “brain teaser” activity on the work page, highlighting the difference between weight and value (25 cents are worth one quarter, but 25 cents weigh more than one quarter).

Enrichments/Extensions

Students may create their own weighing challenges to trade with classmates: weigh an object using cents or quarters and ask a friend to estimate the weight. The students can then check the estimate together.

Use the worksheet and class participation to assess whether the students have met the lesson objectives.

Discipline: Math
Domain: K.MD Measurement and Data
Grade(s): Grade K
Cluster: Describe and compare measurable attributes
Standards:

  • K.MD.1. Describe measurable attributes of objects, such as length or weight.
    • Describe several measurable attributes of a single object

Discipline: Math
Domain: K.MD Measurement and Data
Grade(s): Grade K
Cluster: Describe several measurable attributes of a single object
Standards:

  • K.MD.2. Directly compare two objects with a measurable attribute in common, to see which object has "more of"/"less of" the attribute, and describe the difference. For example, directly compare the heights of two children and describe one child as taller/shorter.
  • K.MD.3. Classify objects into given categories; count the numbers of objects in each category and sort the categories by count.

Discipline: Mathematics
Domain: All Problem Solving
Cluster: Instructional programs from kindergarten through grade 12 should enable all students to
Grade(s): Grades K–12
Standards:

  • Build new mathematical knowledge through problem solving
  • Solve problems that arise in mathematics and in other contexts
  • Apply and adapt a variety of appropriate strategies to solve problems
  • Monitor and reflect on the process of mathematical problem solving

Discipline: Mathematics
Domain: K-2 Data Analysis and Probability
Cluster: Develop and evaluate inferences and predictions that are based on data.
Grade(s): Grades K–12
Standards:

In K through grade 2 all students should

  • discuss events related to students' experiences as likely or unlikely.

Discipline: Mathematics
Domain: K-2 Data Analysis and Probability
Cluster: Formulate questions that can be addressed with data and collect, organize, and display relevant data to answer them.
Grade(s): Grades K–12
Standards:

In K through grade 2 all students should

  • pose questions and gather data about themselves and their surroundings;
  • sort and classify objects according to their attributes and organize data about the objects; and
  • represent data using concrete objects, pictures, and graphs.

Discipline: Mathematics
Domain: K-2 Measurement
Cluster: Apply appropriate techniques, tools, and formulas to determine measurements.
Grade(s): Grades K–12
Standards:

In K through grade 2 all students should

  • measure with multiple copies of units of the same size, such as paper clips laid end to end;
  • use repetition of a single unit to measure something larger than the unit, for instance, measuring the length of a room with a single meterstick;
  • use tools to measure; and
  • develop common referents for measures to make comparisons and estimates.

Discipline: Mathematics
Domain: K-2 Measurement
Cluster: Understand measurable attributes of objects and the units, systems, and processes of measurement.
Grade(s): Grades K–12
Standards:

In K through grade 2 all students should

  • recognize the attributes of length, volume, weight, area, and time;
  • compare and order objects according to these attributes;
  • understand how to measure using nonstandard and standard units; and
  • select an appropriate unit and tool for the attribute being measured.

Discipline: Mathematics
Domain: K-2 Number and Operations
Cluster: Compute fluently and make reasonable estimates.
Grade(s): Grades K–12
Standards:

In K through grade 2 all students should

  • develop and use strategies for whole-number computations, with a focus on addition and subtraction;
  • develop fluency with basic number combinations for addition and subtraction; and
  • use a variety of methods and tools to compute, including objects, mental computation, estimation, paper and pencil, and calculators.