Wednesday, December 2, 2009

What's a Fulcrum?

Fifth Graders are our feature this week. Take a look at what they're doing if you have a chance to stop in the art room--it's pretty cool! They've been learning about painter/sculptor Alexander Calder and making mobiles on a conical base.

So welcome to science in art: let's talk physics! Mobiles are basically simple machines; simple machines are what we use to make work easier. They help us to exert less energy to make something happen. Levers are an example of a simple machine; a crowbar is a lever.

A mobile is a first-class lever. That's a lever with the fulcrum* located in the middle, between the load and the force being applied. Teeter totters and scales are first-class levers. A first class lever is in balance when the load is equal on either side of the fulcrum--just what you need to create a mobile!

*Fulcrum: the pivot point of a lever--the place where a lever turns

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