DO YOU HAVE A QUESTION?
- Question 1: How can you find the
balance point of any shape of paper without trying to
- Question 2: Is a shape's balance point
the same as its center of gravity?
- Question 3: If I have more questions on
balance or motion, is there a person I can call?
Question 1: How can you find the balance point of
any shape of paper without trying to balance it?
Challenge your students to research this or test their own
ideas. Later, introduce this activity. This activity will show
students how to use tools to find the balance point of any
strange shaped piece of paper.
- Tagboard, one per student
- Bulletin board
- Hole puncher
- Washer or some kind of weight to tie to the end of a
piece of string.
- Pass out a sheet of tagboard, 8" string, 1 weight, 1
pushpin and colored chalk to each student.
- Have students cut a triangular shaped piece from the
- Punch a hole in each corner of the tagboard.
- Tie a weight to the end of a piece of string about
8" long and a loop on the other end. (You will
probably need to show them how to make the loop.)
- Use a pushpin to let the triangle swing freely by one of
its holes. Do this part against the bulletin board.
- Remove the pushpin, and now hang the string by its loop
to the pushpin and then hang the triangle. Let the
triangle swing freely until it stops.
- Draw the line of the string across the face of the
- Do the same thing with the other two holes.
- In the end, you will have draw three lines which cross at
the same point (hopefully).
- This is the center of balance!
- Test it out by balancing it on your finger!
- You can test out any shaped piece of tagboard by doing
the same steps as the triangle. This time, punch three
holes that they are somewhat equally spaced from each
other (just an approximate). Hang the string and the
shape on the pushpin. Draw the line. Move the string to
the second and third holes drawing the lines each time.
You should have a point where the three lines intersect,
this is the balance point. Once again, test it out!
Question 2: Is a shape's
balance point the same as its center of gravity?
Answer: Yes, if the object is on the surface of the earth, the
balance point and the center of gravity are the same point.
Question 3: If I have more questions on balance or
motion, is there a person I can call?
Answer: A great resource for puzzling student questions is
MAST, the Math and Science Teachers' Hotline, located at the
University of Northern Colorado. Their phone number is
Any Great Ideas?