In this virtual makerspace, the LEARN team is #ExploringBalance with balancing sculptures, mobiles, homo-polar motors, and much more. We will focus our exploration on key concepts of balance, like gravity, mass, center of gravity, and distribution of mass. This capsule will give you all the resources and ideas you’ll need to bring engaging, hands-on making into your classroom or in an online environment. Let’s get exploring!

Pedagogical Connections

  1. Gravity – an attractive force between bodies. More mass equals more gravity.
  2. Mass – another word for ‘weight’. It measures how heavy things are.
  3. Center of Gravity – mass is concentrated at a point (pivot point)
  4. Inertia – the tendency for objects at rest to stay at rest and for moving objects to keep moving
  5. Distribution of Mass – key to balancing mass

The lower the center of gravity, the easier to balance. Chris Woodford 2009

SimulatorBalancing Act

VideoCenter of Mass example  | Center of Mass Intro

Materials – Household materials, dowels, skewers, toothpicks, fruit, vegetables, gummies, marshmallows, buttons, wire, balloons, plasticine, foam paper, rolls, chop sticks, rocks, blocks, natural materials, etc…

Resources – Shoutout to Tinkering Studio for inspiring!

  1. Balancing Sculptures
  2. Exploring Balance with K-Cycle 1
  3. Mobile Sculptures
  4. Balancing Sculptures 
  5. Ideas on Twitter

From Exploratorium

@ExploringBalance Activity Page • 2020

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