Coin Weight Investigation

Do you know which U.S. coin weighs the most? Make predictions and explore different coin weights by creating your own coin balance scale.

Materials: different types of coins, two paper or plastic cups, string (24 inches), scissors, ruler, clothes hanger, tape

Time: 30 to 45 minutes

Steps:

• Collect different types of coins.
• Examine each coin and notice how they are different. Some coins are bigger in size, and some are smaller. Some coins are thicker than others, and some weigh more.
• Make predictions about coin weights:
• Which coin weighs the most?
• Which coin weighs the least?
• Build a balance scale to test out your predictions.
• Poke two small holes in two cups. Make sure the holes are close to the rim and on opposite sides.
• Cut two pieces of string that are the same length (around 12 inches each).
• Tie the ends of the string through the holes in the cups to create two buckets.
• Hang the buckets on separate ends of a clothes hanger.
• Tape the string to the hanger keep it in place.
• Hang the hanger on a door handle.
• Using the different coins, test out their weights to see what coin weighs more. Check your predictions:
• Are your predictions are correct?
• What did you learn about the different coins?
• Experiment with different coin combinations. Compare the weight of two pennies with one nickel, or the weight of five dimes to two quarters.
• Use the Coin Specifications table to check your work.