Balance Platform

Principle of Science: Force, Leverage

Get everyone to stand near the edge of the platform, keeping it balanced. Now try and move position, but keep the board balanced. Even though everyone is spread out in different places, the platform can still be level.

Each person’s weight and their distance from the center alter the balance of the platform. When the platform is balanced, the effect is as if one person weighing the same as all the others on the platform were standing at the center. The farther someone is from the center of the platform, the bigger the impact weight has on the platform. A small force (one person’s weight) far from the center can balance a much larger force (the weight of several people) nearer to the center. In other words, a small force over a large distance is equal to a large force over a small distance – this is leverage!

Waiters use this principle in balancing a tray full of glasses and dishes. Pilots of smaller planes or helicopters use leverage to distribute the weight of passengers.