Mass
Forces and Motion

Wobbly Stick

Enrichment Activity for 5-11 11-14


What you need

  • A stick (1m long)
  • A lump of clay

Instructions

  1. Push a lump of clay about the size of your fist on to the stick 20cm from the end
  2. With the clay-end closest to your hand, try balancing the stick
  3. Now turn the stick upside down and try balancing it again

Results and Explanation

It's much easier to balance it the second way. The stick rotates slower when the clay is at the top, so there's more time to adjust and keep it balanced. The further the mass is from the centre of rotation (your hand), the slower it rotates.

Would you recommend this resource to a colleague?

You can easily share this resource via email or social media using the links found at the top of the page.

Professional Practice

Get Chartered.

Are you a practising physics teacher? Want to become a Chartered Physicist? We're here to help. Get in touch at teachercphys@iop.org for support with your application.

Learn More