Body Balance Physics!

September 5, 2017
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With school being out for just a tad longer, kids are looking for something to do around the house. Here’s a simple activity that requires little to no supplies that anyone can do. Let’s explore a science concept – balance!

As humans, we are balancing all of the time! As we walk, sit, jog, stand, we are constantly making sure that we are balanced. If we weren’t, we would fall over a lot more. It comes to us so naturally that we don’t think about how we are changing our center of mass to accommodate our movements. For a child who is standing, the center of mass for that child is right around his or her belly button. As the child goes from standing to sitting, they have to make sure that they don’t lose balance. To do this, you might lean forward and shift your torso backward. Try standing and sitting a few times and think about what you have to do to avoid falling. It’s a lot to think about.

An easy way to see how our balance can be affected is to limit our movements. Try standing with your back to the wall and the heels of both feet touching the wall. Now try to bend over and touch the ground without bending your knees. It’s likely that you won’t be able to bend all the way down because you will begin to lose your balance. You need to move backwards to avoid that, but the wall is in the way!

Here are a few more balancing tricks that you can try! Think about what causes you to fall, and what you can do to change your center of mass!

Stand with your right side toward the wall. Place the right side of your face on the wall and the right foot against the wall. Now try to lift your left leg. Can you do it?

For this one, grab a chair with a back but no arms. Sit in the chair with your back flat against the back of the chair, and your feet flat on the ground. Cross your arms across your chest and try to stand while keeping your back straight and your feet on the ground. Do you feel like you are stuck to the chair?

Can you think of any other ways to challenge your balance?

Authored By Kelsey Friedemann

Kelsey started working at the Museum through Xplorations summer camp, and this fall she started working as a programs facilitator. She is a presenter for several outreach programs, assists with overnight programs, and assists with education collections during summer camp. Her favorite dinosaur is a Triceratops found at HMNS Sugar Land. The Triceratops is also named "Kelsey."

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