Honest scales

Science with a twist

Make a simple set of scales, and explain how people sometimes use “dishonest” scales.

Discussion point: Both children and adults highly value those who tell the truth.

This exercise is a hands-on illustration of Proverbs 16:11-13. You will need an ice cream stick or a ruler, a large, cylindrical felt-tipped marker or dowel, 15-20 pennies and tape.

  • Use the ice cream stick or ruler as the beam of your balance scale. Tape the marker or dowel to a table and place the beam across it.
  • “Weight” one side of your scale by taping some pennies together, then taping them onto one end of your balance’s beam. While you are doing this, explain to your children that in Bible times, weights were used to balance the scales and help weigh out oil, spices, perfumes and other items people wanted to purchase.
  • Pretend that your five pennies represent five pounds. Place the “five pounds” of pennies on one side of the scale and balance cereal or nuts on the opposite side of the scale.
  • Explain that dishonest people would pretend their weight weighed a certain amount, but it was actually lighter. Every time someone thought they were getting five pounds of wheat, or something else, they would really receive less because the seller used “dishonest” measuring weights.
  • Read Proverbs 16:11-13, then discuss the questions below while role-playing making various purchases.
Questions for discussion
  • Who would you rather make your purchases from – someone with honest weights or dishonest weights?
  • Who values honest boys and girls, men and women?
  • Would you prefer to have honest or dishonest friends?
  • In what ways can we have dishonest scales in our lives? (For example, shoving toys under the bed instead of cleaning them up, by throwing toys in random bins instead of where they belong or by saying you have vacuumed the floor when you only went over parts of it so your chores could be done quicker.)

The Bible says that kings value honest men. Encourage your children by telling them that you, as parents, also delight in children who tell the truth. Assure them that when they tell the truth, the disciplinary measures will be lighter than if they were to try to cover up their wrongdoing. Emphasize that future teachers and employers also will value students and employees who are people of integrity. People who can be trusted to be honest are valued highly everywhere!

Relevant Scripture

Proverbs 16:11-13 “Honest scales and balances are from the Lord; all the weights in the bag are of His making. Kings detest wrongdoing, for a throne is established through righteousness. Kings take pleasure in honest lips; they value a man who speaks the truth.”