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Half Full or Half Empty

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    University of Washington

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Half Full or Half Empty

In this activity (12th activity on the page), learners conduct an experiment to demonstrate how muscles are constantly feeding information to the brain about what they are doing. Two identical containers, labeled "A" and "B" are filled halfway with same amount of water (or dry substance). When a blindfolded learner holds the containers in each hand, they should feel the same weight. Then, more water is added to the containers until the blindfolded learner can detect a difference between container weights. Use this activity for a lesson on the sense of touch and/or detection threshold.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Containers - make sure they are the same before starting
  • Filling material - water or beans or rice or marbles
  • Marker to label containers
  • Blindfold


  • Life Sciences
    • Human Body
      • The Brain and Nervous System
      • Muscles and Skin
    • Human Senses and Perception
      • Touch
  • Mathematics
    • Measurement
      • Size and Scale
  • Physical Sciences
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Mass and Weight
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Chudler, Ph.D., Eric H.


  • All Rights Reserved, Eric H. Chudler, ©2009


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