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Balancing toys

1.1 Wooden spoon

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.


1.2 Elephant - Prague

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.

 

1.3 Balancing clown

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.

 

1.4 Balancing guitarist

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.

 
 
 
© Keith Gibbs 2010