Rubber Band newton Scale

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In this activity, learners make a simple spring-like scale using a rubber band instead of a spring, and calibrate the scale in newtons (N). Learners will gain an understanding of and familiarity with the newton as a unit of force, and use the scale to weigh common objects.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 11 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity


Materials List (per student)

  • cardboard or mat board, 4 in x 12 in
  • 3 brass fasteners, 1 1/2 in
  • rubber band (#19)
  • single hole paper punch
  • 1 regular paper clip
  • string (approximately 1 ft)
  • 2 jumbo paper clips
  • marker pen
  • calibration weights (500 mL water bottles filled with water with brass cup hook screwed into lid OR steel washers)
  • Different objects to weigh (i.e D-cell battery, apple, coffee cup,e tc.)
  • Masking tape (optional)


  • Mathematics
    • Algebra
      • Equations and Inequalities
      • Variables and Expressions
    • Measurement
      • Units of Measurement
      • Size and Scale
  • Physical Sciences
    • Motion and Forces
      • Machines
      • Gravity
      • Acceleration
      • Newton's Laws
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Mass and Weight
      • Volume and Density
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Rathjen, Don


  • All rights reserved, Exploratorium, 2009