Balance doesn’t have to be symmetrical like a reflection. An object can be asymmetrical but still balance.
Meri Wells makes figures in ceramics that are sometimes quite tall. They need to balance or else they would fall over and break. Watch the film of her in her studio near Machynlleth. Listen to her talk about how she makes her figures balance, and why she doesn’t like them to be symmetrical.
You will need a see-saw in the playground, or material to make a model see-saw in the classroom such as flat piece of wood and a triangular base to put it on. (Weighing scales – optional.)
Use the see-saw to test how balance works.
- Can a heavy person or object balance two much lighter ones?
- Can a heavy person or object balance a much lighter one if you move it towards the balance point at the centre.
- Do the objects look visually balanced or unbalanced in your opinion?
- Is it more interesting to look at when it is symmetrical or asymmetrical?
- If you have weighing scales, you could add up the weights of the people or objects to see how they compare.
- When the weights are in the same positions on either side, the balance is a bit like the equals sign in maths. (For example a 5g weight and 3g weight = an 8g weight.)