“Betcha can’t” Balancing Challenges
When you're standing straight, your centre of gravity is somewhere around your belly button. When you change your body's shape, you shift the centre of gravity a bit. For example, when you stick a leg out in front of you, your centre of gravity shifts forward. To keep your centre of gravity over your other foot, you lean your upper body or arms in the opposite direction to the leg.
Part 1: The Impossible Leap
While bent over and holding on to your toes, you can jump backwards from one end of the room to the other, but you won't be able to do a single jump forward. When we jump, we first shift our centre of gravity in the direction we want to jump, and then we move our support base (i.e. our feet) in the same direction to regain our balance. When you are holding onto your toes, jumping backwards is not a problem because you can use your heels to shift your weight. But to jump forward, you would have to use your toes. Unfortunately, your fingers are in the way.
Part 2: The Super Glue Chair
While sitting in a chair with your back against the chair and your feet on the floor, your centre of gravity is at your waist, supported by the chair. When you try to stand up with your back straight, you prevent the centre of gravity from moving to a position above your feet (your support base), as you would need to, to stand up. So you remain glued to your chair!
Part 3: Pick-up Trick
When you stand straight against the wall, your centre of gravity is over your feet. When you bend forward, your centre of gravity shifts forward. In order to keep your balance, you must move your feet forward or your bum backwards. This would ensure that your centre of gravity is right above your feet to maintain stability. Since the rules of this challenge do not allow you to move your feet and the wall is behind you, there is no way to shift your centre of gravity to maintain balance while trying to pick up the money. If you insist on picking up the object, you will fall flat on your face.
Part 4: Leg Lift
In order to move your left leg while your right side is against a wall, you need to shift your centre of gravity over your right foot. You cannot do this without moving the wall.
Part 5: Smartie Sniffer
This exercise can be used to determine the approximate location of your centre of gravity. If you could not touch the Smartie without falling over, your centre of gravity is high (above your belly button). When your centre of gravity is high, it will surpass your base (between the knees and toes) when you lean over. If you succeeded in touching the Smartie, it means that you have a low centre of gravity. Even when you lean over, your centre of gravity is still above your base.
Students will be able to:
- Identify ways in which balance affects our daily lives.
- List the conditions required for an object to be stable.
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Full Lesson & other activities - Balance