What happens?

The spoon can be balanced on the mark. It is then separated at the mark and the question is – which piece is heavier?

The bowl of the spoon is heavier than the handle.

Theory and teaching notes

The centre of gravity of the bowl of the spoon is closer to the pivot (centre of gravity of the whole spoon) than that of the handle. A useful and unusual demonstration of the principle of moments.

What happens?

This was bought in a craft shop in Prague in the Czech republic. When the elephant is given a small push he "walks" down the ramp, stopping at the end. This is a lovely toy with no electronics – just a wonderful piece of woodwork and balancing. Other toys such as rabbits and hedgehogs can be bought on line from Czech crafts. (www.woodentoys.cz/products)

Theory and teaching notes

You can investigate how the elephant behaves if the angle of the ramp is altered.

What happens?

The clown rolls along the two parallel bars.

Theory and teaching notes

The heavy body is close to the pivot and is balanced by the lighter legs which stick out a long way from the pivot.

What happens?

The small metal guitarist balances on the flat metal platform and can be pushed so that he sways backwards and forwards.

Theory and teaching notes

His centre of gravity never falls outside the base and so he does not topple over.

There are many such "executive" toys. They rely purely on balance and do not use magnets.