What is Mass? - Lesson for Kids

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  • 0:03 What Is Mass?
  • 0:54 Why Is Mass Important?
  • 2:15 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Michelle Vannoy
In this lesson, we'll learn about mass. We'll explore how mass and weight are not the same thing and why it is important to understand the difference between the two!

What Is Mass?

When you go to the doctor for a checkup, the doctor will usually weigh you by having you step on a scale. But what if your doctor's office were on the moon? Would you weigh the same there? No, you would be much lighter because of the lack of gravity! But your actual size would be the same as it is on Earth. How is that possible? This is where the idea of mass comes into play.

Mass is the amount of matter or substance that makes up an object. The units of measurement used to express mass are called kilograms (abbreviated kg). Whether you're on the moon or Earth, your mass doesn't change - there's still the same amount of you. Your weight, which is different from your mass, depends on gravity - it only changes on the moon because there isn't the same gravitational downward pull.

Why Is Mass Important?

Mass takes its name from one of two sources: the Greek word maza, which roughly means barley cake, or the Hebrew word mazza, which means unleavened bread. No one's quite sure which one is the root word or why early physicists chose this word to represent mass!

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