Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Center of Gravity

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Center of Gravity

Article excerpt


1. Bend two paper clips as shown. Tape them, front and back, to a pin to make a spinner.

2. Balance your spinner on the "bump" on a battery by hanging a paper clip on each arm.


TIP: If it tilts, bend the higher arm outward.

3. How can you make your spinner ...

a. Unstable? (Can't stand up.)

b. Very stable? (Won't fall over.)


4. Your spinners average weight distribution resides as a single point called its center of gravity.

As you add more clips, how does this center of gravity shift in relation to the pinpoint pivot?

[c] 2008 by TOPS Learning Systems. Photocopies permitted if this notice appears. All rights reserved.


To experience how lowering the center of gravity of an object increases its stability.


Copy the lab for each student or lab team.

Step 1. Lay the parts together on a table while taping them so the spinner will be flat. Masking tape works better than clear tape.

Step 2. The spinner will probably tilt at first. Gripping the tape firmly will help keep adjustments focused on the "elbow", so the assembly doesn't become warped by unintended alterations.

Step 3. Blowing on one side of the spinner makes it whirl! …

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