Spring Scale Engineering

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In this activity, learners explore how spring scales work and how they are used for non-exact weight measurement. Learners work in teams to develop their own working spring scale out of ordinary items. They test their scale, present their designs to the group, compare their designs with those of other teams, and reflect on the experience.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 2 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:
$10 - $20 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Student Resource Sheets
  • Student Worksheets
  • A set of identical items to be weighed (i.e. golf ball, tennis ball, cup of matching coins, or weights)
  • A spring (slinky or spring ordered from a scientific supply company)
  • Cardboard
  • Wooden dowels
  • Tape
  • Foil
  • Construction paper
  • Glue
  • Markers
  • String
  • Rubber bands
  • Wire
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Paper cups
  • Straws
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Paper clips
  • Screen
  • Small plastic or PVC piping


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Mechanical Engineering
    • Technology
      • Construction
  • Mathematics
    • Measurement
      • Units of Measurement
      • Size and Scale
  • Physical Sciences
    • Motion and Forces
      • Gravity
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Mass and Weight
  • The Nature of Technology
    • The Design Process
      • Research and Development
      • Invention and Innovation
      • Problem Solving
      • Troubleshooting and Maintenance


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



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