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ZingPath: Mass, Weight, and Pressure

The Differences between Mass and Weight

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Mass, Weight, and Pressure

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Lesson Focus

The Differences between Mass and Weight

Physical Science

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You will get to discover the difference between mass and weight, and find out which one is different on the surface of the moon. Then explore Hooke's law and the factors that influence pressure in liquids.

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Now You Know

After completing this tutorial, you will be able to complete the following:

  • Collect information using pan balances.
  • Collect information using spring scales.
  • Understand the difference between mass and weight.

Everything You'll Have Covered

What is mass?

~ Mass is the measure of the amount of matter in an object.

What is weight?

~ Weight is the measure of the gravitational force affecting an object.

Describe why the mass of an object does not change, but the weight of an object does.

~ Mass is the measure of the amount of matter in an object. The amount of matter in an object remains constant even if the location of the object changes. Weight is the measure of gravitational force affecting an object. Since the moon is smaller than Earth, the moon has less gravity. Therefore, the weight of an object is different on the moon than it is on Earth, because the force of gravity in each location is different.

Place two different-sized wooden blocks on a pan scale. Record your results. Does this measurement represent mass or weight?

~ Measurements will vary. Accept all reasonable responses. Using the pan scale, we are able to determine which block has a larger mass. Consequently, objects with a larger mass also have more weight due to a stronger pull of gravity. We cannot determine the exact pull of gravity, or the object's weight, using a pan scale.

Use a spring scale to measure the weight of each wooden block. Record your results. What conclusion can you form about the weight of these blocks?

~ Measurements will vary. Accept all reasonable responses. The spring scale measures weight by measuring the pull of gravity on an object. The block with the larger mass also has the largest weight because it has the greatest force acting on it.

Tutorial Details

Approximate Time 2 Minutes
Pre-requisite Concepts Students should be able to define the following terms: mass and weight.
Course Physical Science
Type of Tutorial Animation
Key Vocabulary mass, weight,