So… what is balance anyway?
- When all of the weight around a central point is held up by that point, it is balanced.
- Sometimes it is even on both sides of the fulcrum (balance point) – this is called symmetrical balance.
- When the balance point is not in the center of an object because weight is not even along the length, it is called asymmetrical balance.
- When everything is even all the way around one spot it is called balanced.
- When a round object is balanced, it is called radial balance.
Static balance: things that aren’t moving. Like balancing rocks.
What if things are moving? That’s called Dynamic Balance!
If you’ve ever participated in a sport, you know… you need DYNAMIC BALANCE!
What is your favorite sport? Can you guess how balance is needed for success?
Static Balance Experiment
- popsicle stick, ruler, pencil, anything that is long
- Two forks of equal size and weight
- Try to balance the long object on your finger. Is it difficult?
- Notice that you have to make sure that there is equal weight on either side of your finger (fulcrum) for it to be balanced.
- Now, try to balance the toothpick from just the tip, can you do it?
- No, because the weight is all on one side of the fulcrum. Hmmm, let’s add some weight to it, maybe that will help.
- Push the tines of the forks together allowing the handles of the forks to stick out at an angle, making a sort of V shape with the tines at the base of the V.
- Now push the toothpick into the tines so that it sticks out into the Center of the V shape.
- Put your finger out and try to balance the forks and the toothpick by just putting the end of the toothpick (the furthest away from the tines) on your finger.
- You may have to play with the positioning a little of the forks and the toothpick to get it balanced just right.
Things are in balance when the center of gravity or center of mass (not exactly the same thing, but they are the same point when close to the Earth) is in line with the base point.
The center of gravity or mass of an object that is NOT over the base point will topple over to the side with the greater weight.
Sometimes things don’t look balanced, but they are!
In the experiment above, the forks handles are long so they pass the point of your finger and allow the weight of everything to be balanced around your finger and the tip of the toothpick.
Dynamic Balance Experiment
- Stand on one foot. This shifts your center of gravity, and your body must work to stay balanced.
- After you balance on one foot, tilt your head and look up. This changes the position of the sensors in your inner ear. When you move your head side to side, back and forth and up and down, the sensors in your ear alert your brain that it needs to adjust your body to balance. so your body reacts and adjusts to its new position to maintain balance.
- Raise your hands over your head. Touch one hand to your nose, then extend your hand out to your side and touch your nose with your other hand.
- Close your eyes. Everyone has trouble with this one, because we use our sight to remain steady and balanced. When you suddenly take away your sight, your body loses awareness and senses trouble, causing a natural reaction to fall or reach out for a stable surface.
Your brain is constantly working, making sure that you stand upright and don’t fall down.
It uses all of your senses to do that. When you change your position as you walk, jump, run or balance, your muscles are reacting to stop you from falling!
When you tilt your head and turn it towards the ceiling, it makes your brain think you are falling, so your body will react to make sure you don’t.
Sometimes, that response takes time to communicate to your brain so you may feel dizzy or lose your balance.
When you close your eyes, your body loses one sense in helping make sure you are balanced. Without your sight, you may not be able to keep your balance, or it might take a bit of time to readjust!
WMFK Olympic Rings Challenge
Print the three color pages or print the black & white pages and color 5 rings so you have the 5 Olympic rings: blue, black, red, yellow, and green.
Cardstock is more durable, but any paper will work.
Cut out all 5 rings
Place the 5 rings in a circle spaced out around your feet.
Make sure one of the rings is behind you!
Stand on one foot.
Bend down and pick up one ring – then stand back up.
Repeat bending and picking up rings until you have all of the Olympic rings!
Challenge your friends!
Tag #WMFK and we’ll share your video or photos in our stories!