How to find the mass of a solid using a triple beam balance

Mass is the amount of matter an object has. We often use a triple-balance beam to measure mass.

A triple-beam balance gets its name because it has three beams that allow you to move known masses along the beam.


Here is a picture of a triple beam balance. You probably have used one in school.

There are also many other types of balances. Scientists need balances that can measure very small amounts of mass.

Because a triple beam balance compares a known mass to an unknown mass it is unaffected by gravity. Unlike a spring scale which really measures weight, the triple beam balance gives a true measure of mass.

Do you often get confused between mass and weight? Check out the Mass vs. Weight Page

Now it's time to practice your skills using the triple-beam balance.

Problem 1:


A block is put onto a triple beam balance.

What is the mass of the object (to the closest tenth of a gram)?

Remember to find the mass using a triple beam balance you must add the mass values of each of the three beams.

Type your answer in the space provided below, then hit the submit button.

mass block 1

The mass of the object is:

Please enter your answer for Block I in the space provided:



Problem 2:

A block having the same dimensions is now put on the scale. What is the mass of this object? mass block 2

Please enter your answer for Block II in the space provided:


Problem 3:

If both objects were put on the scale at the same time their total mass would be :


Please continue to the next chapter on volume.

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Or search for more specific information on Mass -- Density -- Volume

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Mass Volume Density Activities

Mass:   Learn how to measure the mass of an object using a triple beam balance

Mass vs. Weight:    Mass and weight are often confused by many students. Learn the difference and try some challenging problems.

Volume:   Measure volume using a graduated cylinder.

Density of a Solid:   Learn to calculate the density of an unknown solid from knowing its mass and volume.     

Density of a Liquid:   Learn to calculate the density of an unknown liquid from knowing its mass and volume using a graduated cylinder and triple beam balance. Learn what a hydrometer is, and what it can do.

Why does ice float? Why does ice float in water?

Density Challenge:   Great page for gifted and talented students! Some excellent challenging problems.

Assessment:   Twenty questions on mass, volume and density (two levels of difficulty). Your test is marked online. 

Science Project Ideas:   Ideas for science projects using mass, volume and density concepts learned from this module. 

Mass Volume Density Lab Exercise: Problem: What is the relationship between water pressure and depth of water? 

An Integrated Math Science and Art  (STEAM) Activity- Mass, Volume Density Activity using the Gates Project from Central Park NYC.