Weighing Our Harvest
Place of Learning: 
Grade Level: 
This lesson builds on measurements in the garden, focusing on designing and measuring garden harvest.
Student Learning Goals & Objectives: 

Students Will:

  • Weigh harvest from the garden using a scale.
  • Compare the weights of different fruits and vegetables.
Materials & Prep: 
  • Two plastic containers with four holes drilled on the sides of each
  • One hanger with hooks on the ends
  • One weight/heavy washer
  • A roll of string
  • Weighing Our Harvest Worksheet – PDF
  • Garden Journals
Procedure Steps: 
Activity Preparation
  1. Collaborate with classroom teachers to align the timing of this lesson with other design and engineering lessons.
  2. Make a weight out of a hanger for weighing harvest:
    • Drill a small hole in each corner of the plastic containers.
    • Take one 18-inch string and thread each end through two adjacent holes, securing each end with a knot.
    • Thread another string similarly on the opposite side so the strings are relatively even in length. Do the same for the second container.
    • Place a paper clip through each hook of the hanger to create a hook for the hanging containers.
    • Make a plumb line by tying a heavy washer to one end of the 12-inch string and tying the other end to the middle of the hanger at the hood.
    • Test to see if the containers are even and balanced.
Harvesting Our Garden
  1. Assign student groups to harvest each of the following from the garden (only one or two per group) based on the suggested categories:
    • Brightly colored
    • Heavier than your shoe
    • Grows on a tree
    • Grows on a bush
    • Dug up from the soil
Weighing Our Harvest
  1. Have students make a prediction about the items they collected. Students use their worksheet, Weighing Our Harvest, on page 23 to document their experiment.
  2. Ask:
    • Which item will weigh the most?
    • The least?
  3. Guide students in weighing the harvest on a balancing scale. Select other students to add items from the harvest to the other container until the plumb line is on the midpoint and the containers are balanced.
  4. Ask:
    1. Which fruit or vegetable weighed the most?
    2. Which weighed the least?
    3. How did the balance scale results compare to your predictions?
    4. How could you check to see if a fruit and vegetable weighs the same as another?
    5. How do standard weights make it easier for gardeners to sell their harvest? (They know more accurately how much is being bought and sold.)
Measuring Length and Width
  1. Extra Credit! Demonstrate how to use their hands to measure by following these steps:
    • Spread your hand on the surface of the whiteboard and mark the outer tips of your thumb and pinkie finger.
    • Use a ruler to connect the two points with a straight line and label the length “My Hand Span.”
    • Count your hand span using one of the harvested items.
  2. Students measure the length of items in the harvest and record the number of hand spans of each item in their garden journals.
  3. Ask: Why is the My Hand Spanmethod useful for gardeners?
Students Reflection
  1. Show someone how to use the My Hand Span methods of measuring.
English Language Learning (ELL) Focus: Adjectives of Size
  • Heaviest / Heavier than
  • Lightest / Lighter than
  • Smallest / Smaller than
  • Biggest / Bigger than
Download Lesson Materials

Academic Standards

Next Generation Science Standards

Crosscutting Concepts

Scale, Proportion, and Quantity

Relative scales allow objects and events to be compared and described (e.g., bigger and smaller; hotter and colder; faster and slower). Standard units are used to measure length. Natural objects and/or observable phenomena exist from the very small to the immensely large or from very short to very long time periods.