Weigh in on this Balancing Act

15 11 2010

Challenge a family member to see who can balance a yard stick on one finger for the longest amount of time, using science to your advantage.

First, remember to look at the top of the stick while balancing. This way you will know as soon as the stick starts to fall and have more time to react.

Secondly, add weight to the top of the stick. When the weight is farther from the center, it has more inertia and is more likely to stay at rest. In this example your finger is the center.

 

We had fun exploring different ways to add weight to the stick, using clay.

Do you have anymore tips on how to balance a yard stick on your finger? Leave a comment so we can experiment with your idea.

Also, there is a Notion of Motion exhibit that illustrates this same principle using wheels. What wheel do you think will start rolling the fastest? The one with the hole in the middle, placing the weight on the outside, or the disk with evenly distributed weight? Try it out!

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