Build your own surprising seesaws with everyday materials! In this activity, you're invited to tinker with objects on a platform to figure out how to balance them in ways that don't always look like they should be possible. This activity supports investigations of balance and stability and can be a great warmup activity before diving into more complex balancing sculptures.
Use the hashtag #ExploringBalance to share your ideas and builds with us!
☐ Seesaw: find something that can be used as the platform for your seesaw, like a piece of cardboard, a game board, a book, or a cutting board.
☐ Base: Our favorite way to construct a base is to place a ball into a cup, yogurt container, or box to keep it steady. You can also try standing up a book or using the back of a chair.
☐ Objects to explore: Collect objects of different weights to explore like tissue boxes, toilet paper rolls, toys, and kitchen utensils. Tip: we prefer using objects that won't break even if they fall.
Use a Ball as a Base
Try placing a ball inside of a cup, on top of a toilet paper tube, on a spool of yarn or even on top of an upside-down saucer to keep it steady!
Tip: Construct a taller base to add some drama to your seesaw.
Make an Unstable Table
Take your seesaw explorations even further by making your own version of an Exploratorium exhibit, Unstable Table. Use a cardboard sheet, a book, or a cutting board to make a large, flat surface. Collect small objects of different weights that you can try to move around and balance in different arrangements.
Tip: Cut a paper towel tube into smaller sections and use them to keep materials that roll around (like marbles) in place.