Weight a Minute!

posted in: Teachers | 0
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

 

In a previous post we looked at Masterful Mass and some of the different types of mass. Today, we take a look at weight and the difference between mass and weight. It’s really important to note that while they’re related, mass and weight are not the same thing!

So what exactly is weight? Simply put, weight is the downward force caused by gravity on a given object. Weight is measured in different formats around the world. The Imperial System is used in the United States, where weight is measured in pounds. Much of the rest of the world uses the Metric System, where weight is measured in kilograms. In the scientific community, weight is measured in something called Newtons (N for short).

The mass of an object will never change, but the weight of something can change based on where it is located. The best way to understand this is to think of an astronaut. The astronaut might weigh 80 kilograms (176 pounds) when they’re on Earth, strapped into their seat and getting ready to blast off. But once they reach outer space, they become weightless as there is no force of gravity pressing on them in space. What does not change, however, is the mass of the astronaut. They are still made up of the same amount of atoms as they were before they left Earth for Outer Space.

Even in space the weight of an object can change based on the different forces of gravity at play. If you weighed 45 kilograms (100 pounds) on Earth, then you’d weigh 17 kilograms (38 pounds) on Mars and 107 kilograms (236 pounds) on Jupiter! The changing gravitational forces have the ability to make you much lighter, or way heavier!

Visit this site to find out how much you would way on different planets, stars and moons!

 

Inquiry – Digging Deeper
Now that you know why mass and weight are not the same thing, but are closely related, take a look at the video above which uses a simple experiment to demonstrate the differences between them!