Do you know which U.S. coin weighs the most? Make predictions and explore different coin weights by creating your own coin balance scale.
Grades: 2nd and up
Materials: different types of coins, two paper or plastic cups, string (24 inches), scissors, ruler, clothes hanger, tape
Time: 30 to 45 minutes
- 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.