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This unique three-part lesson helps students understand that mass is an inherent property of matter, while weight depends on gravity. Using simple and inexpensive objects, students make mass measurements without the use of gravity, similar to the measurements made aboard the Skylab space mission. The author provides explicit directions for experimental set-up, construction of the inertial balance, background information for teachers, and links to related digital resources. This item part of an extensive web site, "From Stargazers to Starships", that uses the topics of space exploration and space science to introduce topics in physics and astronomy. Translations in French, Italian and Spanish are available.
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