After introducing the scale and talking about the terminology (heavier than, lighter than, and as heavy as or the same), I followed the lesson plan set forth in the book that came with the kit. The name of the book is Three Bear Family Math Activities: K-3 from Learning Resources. The name of the activity was "Bear Balance." What I liked about this activity is that we used the balancing learned earlier to fill out a chart (another math skill we have been working on) and then using the pattern set forth (using multiples of 2) to predict how many bears will balance out the other side. It's a real-world type comparison that involves more than one math skill. It also included a cute story that the kids had to listen to in order to complete the activity. Since listening comprehension is always something we need to work on with Ben, it was perfect.
The bears and scales are available on Learning Resources' website. I have never bought a set of counting manipulatives because I have found them to be expensive and I have been able to create or use everyday objects instead. However, I might just be convinced enough to buy these manipulatives or at the very least borrow them often. Having three sizes of manipulatives in lots of colors with the ratio between the weight and size being fixed makes them worth it in my mind. There were lots of good activities in the books, but I can already think of lots more that were not in there.