Popsicle Stick Experiment
- Popsicle stick
- chenille stem (pipe cleaners)
- metal washers
- The goal is to balance the Popsicle stick on your index finger while it’s standing straight up (vertical, that is) for at least 10 seconds. You have to resist moving on to the next step until your friends finally throw in the towel, and cry uncle.
- Pull out a chenille stem and a few of the metal washers. Tell your students that they can use these items to help make your popsicle stick stand up and take attention. I have to be honest, these items will not help everyone.
- Do you give up? Believe it or not, the tightrope walker holds the secret of science to making this work.
Here’s the hint…
Wrap the chenille around the middle section of the popsicle stick. Now you have made arms for the tight rope artist. Now attach the washers to the loose ends of the pipe cleaner. Try to see if your popsicle man will balance on your index finger now. If it does not balance, slide the pipe cleaner closer to your finger, and you might want to move the weighted washers also to get the correct balancing act. We have successfully changed the center of gravity. In order for the balancing popsicle man to balance himself, his pipe cleaner arms must be lower that the point of finger contact, or pivotal point.
Let your students struggle for a while if they are, just to drag out those critical thinking skills that is a important component in being able to think like a scientist. Who knew that a popsicle stick could bring out the scientist in your students!! Just goes to show you that science can definitely be done with your students on a shoestring!