Grade Levels: K-3

In this set of activities adaptable for grades K-3, parents and educators will find ideas for teaching about the customary units of weight that we call ounces, pounds, and tons. These activities are designed to complement the BrainPOP Jr. Ounces, Pounds, and Tons topic page, which includes a movie, quizzes, online games, printable activities, and more.

Classroom Activities for Teaching Ounces, Pounds, and Tons

Nonstandard Units
Why do people use the same units to measure things? If possible, give small groups or pairs a balance scale and have them place a wooden block on one side. Then have groups use different weights on the opposite side of the scale to balance the block. For example, one group might use pennies, while another group might use crayons. Make sure groups use the same kind of weight with their scale. In other words, a single group should not use pennies and crayons to balance the block. After the activity, have students discuss why it is important to have standard units of measurement.

Build a Scale

Have your students work in pairs to build crude balance scales using a coat hanger, paper clips, and paper cups. They can use the paper clip to attach the cups to either ends, and hang the scales from hooks or strings, or on their finger. Have students put objects into the cups to compare their weight. They can also pennies or other classroom objects to “measure” weights of different objects. As students compare their results from their balance scales, ask the class to decide if they are accurate tools for measurement. Why or why not?

Lighter or Heavier

Have a student volunteer present an object to the class. Then have other students find examples of objects that are lighter or heavier than the object. Students can use a scale to measure the exact weight and compare. If possible they can subtract to find the difference in weight. Then challenge students to find objects that weigh about the same.

Large and in Charge

Research the weights of different large objects or animals together, such as a car, an elephant, or a blue whale. Have students weigh themselves and then as a class activity, add the weights together using a calculator. How many students does it take to add up to the weight of a single elephant?

Family and Homeschool Activities for Teaching Ounces, Pounds, and Tons

Weight Change

Have your child weigh himself or herself on a scale in pounds and ounces. Then have him or her record the weight on a chart, using proper abbreviations. Keep a record of how your child grows and help him or her subtract to find the difference. Together, you may want to look back at your child’s baby book or health records to find out how much he or she weighed at younger ages, too. You can also use this opportunity to display the data in a line graph. You may also wish to do this activity with pets.

Grocery Store Challenge

Take your child to a grocery store and explore weights of different fruits and vegetables. Ask your child to estimate the weight of one apple or pineapple and then use the scale to find the exact weight. Ask questions to your child and have him or her explore to find the answer. How many apples do you need to reach one pound? Which is heavier, an eggplant or a cauliflower? Make sure your child keeps a record of his or her findings.