Balancing Act: How does Gravity Affect Balance?
5 & up
All materials readily available.
Project Time Frame
This project explores the relationship between gravity and balance. The goals of this project are:
- To conduct experiments in balance.
- To discover the ways in which we utilize balance.
Materials and Equipment
- Computer with Internet access
- Color printer
- Digital camera
- Typical office/hobby/craft supplies (paper, pens, poster board, glue, etc.)
- About a dozen 4-inch metal nails
- Raw eggs
All materials can be found in your home, at local stores, or on ebay.
Gravitational force is the tendency of objects to move toward other (larger) objects. Earth is a very large object, compared to other objects we know, so everything falls toward earth. When an object is supported in such a way that there is equal weight on both sides of the support, the object is said to be balanced.
- What gives us our sense of physical balance?
- What technological inventions rely on physical balance?
- Why is it easier to balance on a moving bike than on a still bike?
Terms and Concepts to Start Background Research:
- Angular Momentum
- Center of Gravity
- Read overview of relevant topics (see bibliography below and terms listed above)
- Address all of the above research questions.
- Search and print out interesting images that depict physical balance. These could be pictures of gymnasts, skaters, sculptures, mobiles, or anything that seems appropriate.
- Also, take photographs throughout the course of your experiments.
- Attempt the nail balancing act described in the link below.
- Practice balancing raw eggs on their ends. It's been said that this can only be done on the first day of Spring. True or false? How many eggs can you balance?
- Design your own unique balancing experiment (optional).
- Interpret your findings in a detailed report.
- Include interesting photos and models in your science fair display.
- Have an egg-balancing contest for your science fair visitors.
- http://mechanicalphysics.suite101.com/article.cfm/why_is_balancing_a_moving_bicycle_easier (Notes on angular momentum)
- http://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/K-12/airplane/cg.html (Center of Gravity)
- http://www.stevespanglerscience.com/experiment/00000083 (Nail balancing act)
- Internet searches of your choosing. Search any of the words or terms listed here, or make up your own phrases to search. Click on any results you find interesting. Have fun surfing the net!
Warning is hereby given that not all Project Ideas are appropriate for all individuals or in all circumstances. Implementation of any Science Project Idea should be undertaken only in appropriate settings and with appropriate parental or other supervision. Reading and following the safety precautions of all materials used in a project is the sole responsibility of each individual. For further information, consult your state’s handbook of Science Safety.