Weighing and Balancing – How to Make a Simple Balance

October 16, 2012

how to make a balance

“I want to know if it weighs more, or the same” He demanded.

“Ok, that’s easy, we’ll just weigh them” I suggested, then I remembered our kitchen scales were not packed in a box somewhere.

Of course my five year old needed to do this now, not tomorrow, not in a little while… now!

I could have scrambled through boxes trying to find the one with the scales in it, but considering we live in a building site it seemed easier (and more fun) to make a simple balance instead!

To Make a Simple Balance…

You’ll Need :

make a balance

A plank of wood (we used an off-cut of recycled floor boards)
A piece of dowel, broom handle or other round wood as long as your plank is wide (we used two wooden blocks glued together)
A hot glue gun
A ruler or measuring tape.
A pencil, or something to mark the wood.

You’ll Do:

Measure your plank of wood and mark a line across the centre.

Warm up your glue gun and just putting a little glue at each end of the line (start with a little bit of glue so you can move the wood around till it is balanced), glue on your round wood as close to the centre line as you can get them.

Flip your balance over and see if it will balance (or almost balance), if not gently move the round wood until you get it as close to balancing as possible. If you need to you can warm up the glue a little by holding the hot end of the glue gun against it.

It took us a while, and some trial and error to get our balance to balance, I think it would have been easier if we’d used lighter wood, but in the end we had it just balancing on it’s own.

balancing

Now for the fun part!

Collect up some things to weight. We began with some animal counters because we knew they all weighed the same amount. Then we got out some glass pebbles and wooden people.

balancing

We had lots of fun testing to see which of the people weighed the most and how we could change the balance by moving them closer to or further from the middle of the board.

balance

This is far from an accurate measure of weight, but it was lots of fun and a great way to experiment with concepts such as more, less, same, weight, balance and number and we had a great time weighing and balancing.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Tanya M October 17, 2012 at 1:39 pm

Great post! Thank you for sharing your ideas.
I really liked your multicultural wooden people. If you don’t mind me asking, where did you get them?
Thank you in advance.

Reply

katef October 19, 2012 at 9:41 am

We got our wooden people about 7 years ago now and they have been well played with since then. They came from Windmill toys… you can see similar ones on this page
http://www.windmill.net.au/early-years/wooden-playsets

Reply

Tanya M October 19, 2012 at 11:15 am

Kate,
Thank you so much for your answer.

Reply

daycarediva October 19, 2012 at 4:30 am

Very cool! We will be making one of these for sure, perhaps today during nap time :)

Reply

The Monko October 23, 2012 at 7:56 am

love this – its so simple and yet so clever.

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Kylie @ Octavia and Vicky October 23, 2012 at 3:55 pm

Great fun! I love your quick thinking making those scales. We have lots of fun when we get out all the different types of scales in the classroom, the kids go at it for ages, weighing everything in sight!

Reply

pauline@lessonslearntjournal.com October 25, 2012 at 8:29 pm

Very fun (and easy on the pocket too). Love it. I’m featuring this post as part of my round up of this week’s Kids’ Co-op (and pinning). xoxo P

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