Center of Gravity Tricks

Yesterday, Jon invited me to come to Webelos and help with the Scientist Pin.  I used to teach science and was pretty excited.  I might make another post or two about this little event!  Anyways, one of the topics we covered was center of gravity and balancing.  I needed a lot of props, so Kaia and I spent a lot of time during the day talking about balancing.  You should see some of the things she was able to balance during the day!  These are the activities we used at Webelos:

THINGS YOU CANNOT DO (without cheating, of course!):

1.  Stand against a wall so that both your heals are touching the wall.  Place something on the ground about 1 1/2 feet in front of you.  We used candy.  Try to pick it up without bending your knees, moving your heals, or tipping over.  It's impossible.

2.  Stand against a wall, sideways, so that your right cheek and right side of your right foot are touching the wall.  Try to lift up your other foot.  Impossible again.


1.  Use 2-6 inches of twine to tie a wooden ruler and a hammer together.  The mass and shape of your ruler and hammer will determine where to tie them--experiment with this!  You can see where my hammer needed to be tied.  It landed on the ruler at about the 3 inch mark and then could be balanced by one finger (or Kaia's fist...or a table top) at 1 1/2 inches.  

2.  Stand eggs on their end.  It wasn't even a solstice!  (haha)  Normally, the yolk is in the middle of the egg and balancing it on an end is very tricky.  But, if you shake it well the yolk settles lower and balancing is not too hard.

 3.  Balance a can on its side.  To make this work, empty the can and refill it about 1/3 of the way full with water.  To balance, make sure both the little ridges on the bottom of the can are touching the table.  Hold the can still long enough to make sure the water is still.  Voila!  Very easy!


Skye December 10, 2010 at 2:26 PM  

Sounds like (and looks like) the things they have the contestants do on "Win in in a minute" (I think that's the name)... pretty neat! :)

The Shepherd family December 11, 2010 at 6:10 PM  

Wow, really cool!

Patrick Mills January 23, 2013 at 4:17 PM  

Thank you VERY much! I'm a Webelos den leader and we're working on the same "award." Your posting this made my evening easier! Patrick Mills