Academic journal article Science and Children

Paper Beam Balance

Academic journal article Science and Children

Paper Beam Balance

Article excerpt

1. Make tape "ears" on the ends of a clothespin. Wiggle large pinholes in the middle of each.


2. Clamp upright to the raised pull-tab on a soda can.

3. Fold a sheet of paper in half lengthwise three times. Tape it closed to make a rigid beam.


4. Make a pinholejust above the exact center of the beam. Poke a hole near each bottom corner, equidistant from the center.

5. Push thread through both end holes. Tape small drinking cups to the threads.

6. Center the beam between the "ears" and run a pin through the three pinholes.


7. Level (center) the beam with a bit of tape stuck lightly on the lighter (higher) side.

8. Weigh a penny (and other stuff) in paper clip units!


To construct a paper balance, to use it to compare masses of small objects.


Make a photocopy of the activity above for each student or lab team.

STEP 3. Match corners and edges carefully; crease well. Tape closed at the center and near each end.

STEP 4. Accuracy is critical. Careful students might help others measure. To punch pinholes, place the beam on a yielding surface, such as styrofoam or cork. …

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