I am always on the look out for new practical life ideas for my students. Discovering a weight scale among my classroom belongings, I knew I wanted to set it out for the children. Over the summer I made cards listing objects students could weigh. I wanted items that would register on the scale, yet not be too heavy for the students to carry. Putting this activity out in October also allowed children to weigh pumpkins. Perhaps they could have weighed their treat bags after Halloween!
Reading the scale took some practice. They first made sure that the needle was set at zero using the dial. There are two sets of hatch marks for pounds and kilograms. The students had to carefully read the marks of increments of one. They recorded their answers in pounds in their math notebooks. We learned that the symbol for pounds (lb) comes from the Latin term libra pondo meaning pound weight.
The children enjoyed this activity. They particularly liked the card where they could weigh themselves. It will be back on my shelves in the spring.