What is the difference between matter" and "mass"?"

Matter is anything that takes up space, can be perceived by your senses in some way, and has mass. In other words, matter is what a makes up a hot dog, a scooter, an elephant — any material item you can think of.

All matter can be broken down into tiny particles called elements and has three properties: mass, volume, and density:

  • Mass is the amount of matter that forms a body that has some sort of shape and size. So, that hot dog, the scooter, and the elephant all have what is called mass. And an object's weight is what we use to measure how much matter — or mass — that object has. Scientists measure mass in grams (g) or kilograms (kg) (1kg = 1000g). Mass (weight) can also be measured in other units like pounds and ounces.
  • The amount of space that matter takes up is called volume and it is often measured in liters (L), milliliters (ml), and cubic centimeters (cm3). You can also measure volume in cups, pints, and gallons.
  • Density is how much matter can fit in a certain space, and it is measured in grams per cubic centimeter (g/cm3).