Math = Love: Chalk Messages Mini-Lab

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Chalk Messages Mini-Lab

What do you do when a chunk of your physical science class is away at the state softball tournament, it's Friday, and you just finished a chapter but don't want to start the new chapter until Monday?  You decide to give your students a piece of sidewalk chalk and a measurement lab to keep them busy.  Measurement was the last skill in the previous chapter, so it made sense.  I promise!   

Here's what I came up with:
We began by making our predictions of how much chalk it would take to write our first and last names.  When some students were making crazy predictions, a student reminded the class that a paper clip has a mass of approximately 1 gram.  This helped make a bit more accurate of predictions. 

Next, we took the triple beam balances outside.  It was a windy day, and we quickly realized this was a BAD idea.  

Some students opted to use a triple beam balance in the classroom.  

Others chose to move their triple beam balances into the hall to work.  

Here are some pictures of my students in action:

If I were to do this again, I'd edit it to have students calculate error before calculating percent error.  Other than that, it turned out to be a good activity to keep students busy on an off-day.

File has been uploaded here.


  1. Love the simplicity of the idea! Sometimes, we forget that simple things make the best activities. Although I am not teaching science, I can see where students would enjoy this. Who doesn't like a chance to leave the classroom and write on the sidewalks with chalk?

    It would not work in Vietnam, because we don't have concrete sidewalks. Our walkways are made of interlocking bricks (which are green and yellow). Plus, it is currently the rainy season, so it rains daily!

  2. That is such a fun idea! You are making me want to teach science -lol