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BALANCING ACT

Balance forks on a string with the science of levers

Suitable For

Grade 4

Difficulty

2

Time Required

 <12 Hours

Supervision

Advised

What’s it about?

A ‘lever’ is one of the earliest and simplest machines known to mankind. A ‘lever’ consists of a rigid object that is supported at a set point called a ‘fulcrum’. A lever will also balance on a fulcrum when all the forces acting on it are centred at or below the fulcrum. A see-saw is a type of lever and you may have noticed that if you and a friend sit in a certain way on a see-saw, you can balance each other’s weight just right so that neither of you touch the ground. Try the following science experiment to re-create this on a smaller scale:

Topics covered

Lever, Fulcrum, Machine, Centre of mass

What will I need?

  • WOODEN DOWEL STICK
  • 2x FORKS
  • AN APPLE
  • 2x CHAIRS
  • THIN ROPE

Procedure (Method)

Unfortunately, this section is only available in the e-book version of the project.

How does it work?

Unfortunately, this section is only available in the e-book version of the project.

This science experiment works because a lever will balance on a fulcrum when all the forces acting on it are centred at or below the fulcrum. The total mass of the two forks, the apple and the dowel stick acts like one mass placed slightly below the rope in this experiment. With the ‘centre of the mass’ below the fulcrum, the lever remains in balance because of the stability created this way.

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