Last friday was a day of play and prediction. The day began with a rousing discussion about gravity. It was lead by the kids and not at all a part of the plan for the day. Then, we quickly reassembled our giant balance beam and jumped on.
Then we briefly covered the equation that dictates balance. R1*M1 = R2*M2 (wiki for more information). For the kids who understood the equation, it was powerful and enlightening. For the kids who didn't connect, it was an introduction to the notion of equations and scientific prediction. In the photo below you can see us calculating where person two (of weight M2) should stand(R2 being their distance from the center).
Our predictions were always within 2%!
An essential part of any big project is its disassembly. The goal wasn't to have a giant balance beam. The goal was to have made a giant balance beam. Having made the device and explored it properties, it was time to take it apart.