Here’s a super fun science activity that really gets kids thinking! Children will explore balance and center of gravity by creating a balancing robot!
*This activity was originally published on June 1, 2014 and has since been updated.
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This balancing robot science exploration has always been a huge favorite among my students! In this science activity kids will place two pennies in various locations on a paper robot until they’ve discovered how to make the robot balance. This post contains affiliate links.
Science for Kids: Balancing Robot
Materials for Balancing Robot Science Activity
- White cardstock
- Two pennies
- Removable poster putty (or scotch tape)
- Markers, crayons or colored pencils (optional)
- Robot printable
How to Make the Balancing Robot
To make the robot balance you’ll want to stick two pennies onto the hands of the robot. (You can use tape to do this, but removable poster putty gives kids a chance to explore balance by moving the pennies to various locations on the robot.)
Here’s how we did it:
Flip your robot over to the back. Place a small piece of poster putty on the hands of the robot.
Press a penny onto each hand. (You can leave it just like this, but we like to attach the second robot to the back so you can’t see the pennies!)
Stick some more poster putty on the pennies.
Press the second robot onto the back. (To keep the top part of the robot from opening up, you can also place a small piece of putty between the two robot bodies to hold them together.)
Now you’ve got your balancing robot!
Exploring Balance and Center of Gravity
Here’s the fun part! Show the students a balancing robot in action on your finger, but don’t let them know how to make it just yet.
Now, give each student one of their cut out robots (they can attach the second robot to the back once they’ve figured out how to make it balance), 2 pennies, and some removable poster putty.
Give them time to try out sticking the pennies to different parts of the robot to try to get the robot to balance on their fingers. I love watching them explore and discuss with their friends all the various ideas they come up with! Many will figure it out on their own. For those that don’t, you can show them the correct placement of the pennies or invite other students to help them.
Once all the students have their balancing robots built correctly, let them explore balancing the robot in different places. We tried ours out on our nature table.
Lucy’s favorite place was her nose!
This is a such a fun science activity for kids to do any time of the year! Hope you enjoy it, and please let me know how it goes!
Other Resources for Exploring Balance and Center of Gravity
- Balancing Utensils Table Trick from Steve Spangler Science
- Gravity Episode of Bill Nye the Science Guy
- How to Find the Center of Gravity from The Exploratorium