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Sorting by Weight

Students will love exploring how to compare the weight of nature items using a balance scale.

Children compare and sort nature items!

Items in nature are so diverse and as students are learning how to compare the weight of things, it is fun to use actual items from nature and the forest to explore with this. 

Students will work together to weigh the different items and chart which items are heavy and which items are light.


For this developmental activity you will need:

Various nature items (apple, acorn, branch, moss, bark, pine cone, rock, etc)

Balance scale


Laminated paper that has two columns labeled “heavy” and “light”



Nature magazines

Learning Outcomes




Measurement and Data


Compare sizes of nature items and weighing each item.


Step 1

To prep for this activity, have various nature items that vary in weight, but are small in size.

Have students gather at carpet. Hold up a rock in one hand and a feather in the other hand. Ask students to describe both items.  Look for keywords used like “light” and “heavy.” If that doesn’t come up in the description, ask students which one is light and which one is heavy. 

Step 2

Explain that students will sort various objects found in nature at the science center today. Show the balance scale. Place the rock on one side and the feather on the other. Ask, “What do you notice about the scale?” Are they the same? Which one is weight down heavier?” Place the scale and all of the objects at the science center. 

Step 3  

After students have successfully completed the light/heavy activity, they can draw the objects or try to find other nature items in the magazines provided and create their own “light/heavy” paper.

Playful Questions

What is something that is light?

How do you know what something weighs?

How much do you think you weigh?

What is heavier than an acorn?

What is lighter than a branch?

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