Conservation of Mass Activities

Instructor: Rachel Tustin

Dr. Rachel Tustin has a PhD in Education focusing on Educational Technology, a Masters in English, and a BS in Marine Science. She has taught in K-12 for more than 15 years, and higher education for ten years.

Teaching key scientific concepts such as the conservation of mass is no easy feat for a teacher. It requires making the abstract concrete for students. These activities will get you started teaching the law of conservation of mass to your students.

Teaching Conservation of Mass

Teaching students the law of conservation of mass or matter can be a challenging topic. For students, first of all, it is not always obvious that matter doesn't simply go away. And as teachers, we often don't have the resources for expensive equipment to prove to our students the law of conservation is true. So it can take some ingenuity to help students gather evidence so they can prove to themselves that mass is truly conserved.

Inflatable Conservation of Energy

In science classrooms, there always seems to be a few basic ingredients hanging around the storage cupboards like vinegar and baking soda. With these two ingredients, you can do all kinds of experiments, including proving to students that the law of conservation of matter does apply to the universe.


  • triple beam balance
  • baking soda
  • vinegar
  • balloons
  • 16-ounce clean water bottle
  • measuring cup
  • funnel


  1. Explain to students that the law of conservation of matter states that matter cannot be created or destroyed in a chemical reaction.
  2. Have students measure the mass of the empty measuring cup on the triple beam balance. Have them also measure the mass of the balloon, and their bottle. All of these measurements should be recorded in their data table.
  3. Next, students should add ½ cup of baking soda using the measuring cup and place it back on the triple beam balance. The difference between the mass of the cup and the mass of the cup plus baking soda will give them the actual mass of the baking soda itself.
  4. Add the baking soda to the bottle using a funnel. Remind students it is important that all of the baking soda gets inside the bottle.

conservation of mass image 1

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