Teacher Site Map
3rd Grade Science Core
USOE Science Home Page

A Weighty Matter

The weight of an object determines how hard it is to move it. Heavy objects require more force to move than light objects
Try It!


  • Pencil
  • Rubber band
  • Large paperclip
  • Duct tape
  • Ruler
  • Stuff to weigh


  1. Tape a pencil to a table.
  2. Tape a rubber band around the pencil.
  3. Straighten a paperclip until it makes an “S.”
  4. Hang the paperclip off the rubber band, as shown.
You have just created a simple scale. You can “weigh” things by hanging them off the paperclip. The rubber band will stretch a little for light objects, and a lot for heavy ones. You can see the force needed to overcome gravity and keep the object from falling, by measuring the rubber band! (Don’t weigh really heavy objects or else you’ll overcome the force of the tape and pull your scale off the table!)
Now “weigh” several things by hanging them off the paperclip. Complete a table, like this one, with your results.
Item Weighed
Length of Rubber Band
The rubber band was long for heavy objects. It was shorter for light ones. You have just demonstrated that it takes more force to overcome gravity for a heavy object than for a light one!

Download the plug-ins: Get Adobe Acrobat Reader, and Get Quicktime Player. (The QuickTime plug-in is needed to play sounds and movies correctly.)

Want to share photos of you or your friends doing this activity? Send it in an e-mail with the following information:

  1. The title of the activity
  2. The URL (Internet address)
  3. Your name.

Remember that no pictures can be used that show student faces or student names on it. 

Teachers should view the Teacher Site Map to relate Sci-ber text and the USOE 3rd grade science core.

Updated October 24, 2008 by: Glen Westbroek

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