Try This Tops Idea!

Article excerpt

center of gravity

by TOPS Learning Systems

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.

3. How can you make your spinner...

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

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

4. Your spinner's 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?

OBJECTIVE

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

LAB NOTES

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!

MATERIALS

* A box of paper clips--all the same size and brand is best.

* A straight pin. …

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