Balancing Broom

A red exhibit table with a yellow top and a vetical orange and white information panel. In front of the panel is a red and grey broom.

Centre of mass can sometimes be found by balancing an object on your finger.

How it works

Balance the broom on your fingers and compare the balance point on a broom stick and a normal stick.

Things to try or ask around the exhibit

Balance a stick on your index fingers. Slide your fingers towards each other until they touch and the stick stays balanced. Do your fingers always meet at the same point on the stick and the broomstick?

Background

The point where your fingers meet is called the balance point. One finger tends to support the stick’s weight and moves less. Your other finger supports less weight (giving less friction), so it slides more easily along the stick. When we walk, we shift our body so that our balance point is above the foot we are stepping onto.

Finding the science in your world

When we walk, we shift our body so that our balance point is above the foot we are stepping onto.