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written by David Stern
Available Languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish
This unique three-part lesson helps students understand that mass is an inherent property of matter, while weight depends on gravity. Using simple and inexpensive objects, students make mass measurements without the use of gravity, similar to the measurements made aboard the Skylab space mission. The author provides explicit directions for experimental set-up, construction of the inertial balance, background information for teachers, and links to related digital resources.

This item part of an extensive web site, "From Stargazers to Starships", that uses the topics of space exploration and space science to introduce topics in physics and astronomy. Translations in French,
Italian and  Spanish are available.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Classical Mechanics
- Newton's First Law
= Measuring Inertia
General Physics
- Measurement/Units
- High School
- Lower Undergraduate
- Instructional Material
= Activity
= Curriculum support
= Lesson/Lesson Plan
Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
- Physical Science
- Physics First
- Conceptual Physics
- Algebra-based Physics
- AP Physics
- Lesson Plan
- Activity
- Laboratory
- New teachers
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Intended Users:
Educator
Learner
Format:
text/html
Access Rights:
Free access
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© 2005 David Stern
Keywords:
Law of Inertia, Newton's First Law, inertia, mass, measurement, skylab
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created March 22, 2008 by Alea Smith
Record Updated:
May 29, 2011 by Lyle Barbato
Last Update
when Cataloged:
March 24, 2006

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

4. The Physical Setting

4D. The Structure of Matter
  • 6-8: 4D/M2. Equal volumes of different materials usually have different masses.
  • 6-8: 4D/M7b. The idea of atoms explains the conservation of matter: If the number of atoms stays the same no matter how the same atoms are rearranged, then their total mass stays the same.
  • 6-8: 4D/M10. A substance has characteristic properties such as density, a boiling point, and solubility, all of which are independent of the amount of the substance and can be used to identify it.

12. Habits of Mind

12B. Computation and Estimation
  • 3-5: 12B/E3. Judge whether measurements and computations of quantities such as length, weight, or time are reasonable by comparing them to familiar values.
  • 6-8: 12B/M7b. Convert quantities expressed in one unit of measurement into another unit of measurement when necessary to solve a real-world problem.

This resource is part of a Physics Front Topical Unit.


Topic: Dynamics: Forces and Motion
Unit Title: Newton's First Law & Inertia

This unique lesson helps students understand that inertia is an inherent property of matter, while weight depends on gravity.  Using simple and inexpensive objects, students make mass measurements without the use of gravity, similar to the measurements made aboard the Skylab space mission.

Link to Unit:
ComPADRE is beta testing Citation Styles!

Record Link
AIP Format
D. Stern, (2005), WWW Document, (http://www.phy6.org/stargaze/Smass.htm).
AJP/PRST-PER
D. Stern, From Stargazers to Starships: Mass - Measuring Mass on a Space Station (2005), <http://www.phy6.org/stargaze/Smass.htm>.
APA Format
Stern, D. (2006, March 24). From Stargazers to Starships: Mass - Measuring Mass on a Space Station. Retrieved August 23, 2014, from http://www.phy6.org/stargaze/Smass.htm
Chicago Format
Stern, David. From Stargazers to Starships: Mass - Measuring Mass on a Space Station. March 24, 2006. http://www.phy6.org/stargaze/Smass.htm (accessed 23 August 2014).
MLA Format
Stern, David. From Stargazers to Starships: Mass - Measuring Mass on a Space Station. 2005. 24 Mar. 2006. 23 Aug. 2014 <http://www.phy6.org/stargaze/Smass.htm>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Author = "David Stern", Title = {From Stargazers to Starships: Mass - Measuring Mass on a Space Station}, Volume = {2014}, Number = {23 August 2014}, Month = {March 24, 2006}, Year = {2005} }
Refer Export Format

%A David Stern
%T From Stargazers to Starships: Mass - Measuring Mass on a Space Station
%D March 24, 2006
%U http://www.phy6.org/stargaze/Smass.htm
%O text/html

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source
%A Stern, David
%D March 24, 2006
%T From Stargazers to Starships: Mass - Measuring Mass on a Space Station
%V 2014
%N 23 August 2014
%8 March 24, 2006
%9 text/html
%U http://www.phy6.org/stargaze/Smass.htm


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From Stargazers to Starships: Mass - Measuring Mass on a Space Station:

Is Part Of From Stargazers to Starships

This is a link to the full collection of resources on introductory physics and astronomy by the same author.

relation by Caroline Hall
Is Supplemented By Newton's Laws of Motion: Force and Inertia

This is a tutorial on Newton's First law of Motion created by the same author.

relation by Caroline Hall
Is a Teaching Guide For Physics Classroom: Inertia and Mass

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