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Gravity is the force that pulls objects toward the center of the Earth. Gravity can make things fall down but it can also help hold things in place. You probably have some games at home the show you a lot about the power of gravity. One of those games is Jenga – that game where you stack up the pieces of wood into a tower and then take turns sliding one of the wood pieces out of the stack. The other game is Cup Stackers – that game where you make a pyramid of the cups as fast as you can and then take it down again. The cups and the wood blocks make strong towers if the base of the tower is wide. This keeps the tower stable.
What You Need:
- Several Plastic or Paper Drinking Cups or Blocks
Build a tower by stacking the blocks or cups one on top of the other. If you are using cups, alternate them so that every other cup is upside down. The towers built from single objects stacked on top of each other don’t get very tall before they tip over do they? Now stack the cups or blocks in a pyramid. Depending on how many cups or blocks you have, the pyramid tower can get pretty tall without tipping over. This is because the weight of the cups or blocks is distributed across a wide base. It’s kind of like the difference between balancing on one foot or balancing on two feet. The wider the base, the more weight that can be supported before gravity will pull an object or stacked objects down.
Here are some websites and books that will help you explore gravity:
- Physics for Kids: Gravity
- StarChild: What Is Gravity?
- ZOOM: Weightlessness
- Tryscience: Gravity in Action
- PBSKids Fetch: Skydiver
- PBSKids Fetch: Stack ‘Em Up
- PBSKids Fetch: Throw Your Weight Around
- The Guardian: Perfect Balance Nails
- Bill Nye Weightless Clothespin
Words to Know:
Gravity – The force that pulls everything toward the center of Earth; the force of gravitation on Earth.
Weight – A measure of the force of gravity upon an object
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