Channel Talk

# Re: [Channel-talkmeasurement] Mass versus Weight

Date: Thu Jun 14 2007 - 13:25:55 EDT
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yes, typically a balance, like a two-pan balance, measures the amount of an unknown mass in one pan by balancing it with known masses in the other pan. A three-arm balance does the same thing, though it uses the position of the indicators on the arms to "counter" the unknown mass--like using position on a child's see-saw to balance a larger mass.

Using these devices you would get the same "mass" if you used the device here or say on the moon. A bathroom scale wouldn't give the same mass in both places since it intrinsically measures the pull of a larger mass on a smaller one (on the Earth it is the Earth's pull on the object on the scale, whereas, on the Moon it would be the pull of the Moon on the object on the scale).

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Technology is not neutral
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----- Original Message ----
From: "coffeemom212@comcast.net" <coffeemom212@comcast.net>
To: channel-talkmeasurement@learner.org
Sent: Monday, June 11, 2007 12:04:12 PM
Subject: [Channel-talkmeasurement] Mass versus Weight

While I understand that mass is the amount of matter in something and that weight refers to the gravitational pull, I find it confusing that we use the terms mass and weight interchangeably. It seems like when we measure with a spring scale, we are measuring weight because the spring is pulling down towards the ground. This works similarly with old fashioned bathroom scales (not digital) when we step on the scale and it pushes down to move the arrow to our weight. If this is true, then when we use a balance scale are we measuring mass?

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Received on Fri Jun 15 09:07:45 2007