Immense learning takes place when we shift from rote learning to hands-on learning. This shift in approach gives children leadership and allows them to lead the learning process and is the very basis of the STEM approach to education. Instead of acting like a teacher, the adult acts like a facilitator, like a guide mentoring the child and helping them observe and deduce answers from their existent knowledge and new experiences.
Try your hands at this fun science experiment – Balancing Butterfly. Not only this experiment is fun to do, it also explores the concepts of balance, symmetry and center of mass. Something you and your children use in daily life like while riding a bicycle or skating. Surfers, gymnasts, motorbike racers, skiers use it all the time!
For this Fun Science Experiment, you will need:
- A4 Sheet
Step 1: Take the A4 sheet and fold it in half.
Step 2: Draw one side of the butterfly around the fold. This way your children will understand the concept of symmetry and you will land with a perfectly symmetrical butterfly.
Step 3: Cut along the outline of the butterfly with the fold in place to get a beautiful butterfly cutout.
Step 4: Roll a small clay ball and stick a skewer in it.
Step 5: Balance your butterfly on the tip of the skewer. It may take some time to find the point where the butterfly stays afloat on the skewer. This point is the center of mass of your butterfly. You can also try balancing the butterfly on your fingertip. It is super fun!
Science Behind Balancing Butterfly
The point at which the butterfly is perfectly balanced on your fingertip (skewer) is its center of mass. What that means in simple terms is that the mass around that point is evenly distributed across all dimensions. Any object at its center of mass is balanced.
The reason we chose to make a symmetrical butterfly was to help us find the center of mass easily. For symmetrical objects, this point is easier to find and is often located along the plane of symmetry. This is how basketball players spin the basketball around their fingertips.
For asymmetrical objects, like a lion, it is little tricky. But with little determination, you can easily balance the lion as well.