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Balancing Act

Active Time
10-20 minutes
Total Project Time
10-20 minutes
Key Concepts
Balance, stable, unstable, area, center of mass, gravity
A wooden block balanced on one end, and a coffee mug precariously balanced on its handle.

Introduction

What makes an object balanced? Look around you—most of the objects in the room are probably balanced and not on the verge of tipping over. If someone hands you an object and asks you to put it down, you probably know, without thinking about it too much, how to place it so it won't fall over. But what's the science behind how an object balances? Why do certain objects only balance on some sides and not others? Try this project to find out!

Credits

Ben Finio, PhD, Science Buddies
This activity is not appropriate for use as a science fair project. Good science fair projects have a stronger focus on controlling variables, taking accurate measurements, and analyzing data. To find a science fair project that is just right for you, browse our library of over 1,200 Science Fair Project Ideas or use the Topic Selection Wizard to get a personalized project recommendation.

Materials

An assortment of random objects from around the house will work for this project. Try to get a variety of objects, such as:

  • Rectangular objects (blocks, boxes)
  • Long, skinny objects (pencils, rulers)
  • Irregularly shaped objects (coffee mugs, hair brushes)

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Active Time
10-20 minutes
Total Project Time
10-20 minutes
Key Concepts
Balance, stable, unstable, area, center of mass, gravity