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Build a balance sculpture. Create a stand, balancing arm and paper loops to experiment with mass, balance and gravitational forces. Contains a step-by-step project guide.


Purchase this project individually or get the Gravitational Forces bundle in the shop, which includes this project in addition to Tilting Maze and Ramp.


Engineering with Paper project kits teach dozens of approaches to folding, cutting and taping paper for use in unlimited projects. 


No printer? No problem! You can follow all instructions on-screen with regular copy paper. 

If printing, we recommend printing your packet without scaling. Pages are sized to 8.5" x 11".



-Projects pages with project instructions and examples


Additional Supplies Needed:

Paper, scissors, tape, (optional) markers or colored pencils or crayons


This project meets these NGSS standards:


Apply Newton’s Third Law to design a solution to a problem involving the motion of two colliding objects. Examples of practical problems could include the impact of collisions between two cars, between a car and stationary objects, and between a meteor and a space vehicle. Assessment is limited to vertical or horizontal interactions in one dimension.


Conduct an investigation and evaluate the experimental design to provide evidence that fields exist between objects exerting forces on each other even though the objects are not in contact. Examples of this phenomenon could include the interactions of magnets, electrically-charged strips of tape, and electrically-charged pith balls. Examples of investigations could include first-hand experiences or simulations. Assessment is limited to electric and magnetic fields, and limited to qualitative evidence for the existence of fields.


Analyze data from tests to determine similarities and differences among several design solutions to identify the best characteristics of each that can be combined into a new solution to better meet the criteria for success.


Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.


Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.


Support an argument that the gravitational force exerted by Earth on objects is directed down. “Down” is a local description of the direction that points toward the center of the spherical Earth. Assessment does not include mathematical representation of gravitational force.


Plan an investigation to provide evidence that the change in an object’s motion depends on the sum of the forces on the object and the mass of the object. Emphasis is on balanced (Newton’s First Law) and unbalanced forces in a system, qualitative comparisons of forces, mass and changes in motion (Newton’s Second Law), frame of reference, and specification of units. Assessment is limited to forces and changes in motion in one-dimension in an inertial reference frame, and to change in one variable at a time. Assessment does not include the use of trigonometry.


Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.


Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.


Construct and present arguments using evidence to support the claim that gravitational interactions are attractive and depend on the masses of interacting objects. Examples of evidence for arguments could include data generated from simulations or digital tools; and charts displaying mass, strength of interaction, distance from the Sun, and orbital periods of objects within the solar system. Assessment does not include Newton’s Law of Gravitation or Kepler’s Laws.


Plan and carry out fair tests in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify aspects of a model or prototype that can be improved.


Plan and conduct an investigation to provide evidence of the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces on the motion of an object. Examples could include an unbalanced force on one side of a ball can make it start moving; and, balanced forces pushing on a box from both sides will not produce any motion at all. Assessment is limited to one variable at a time: number, size, or direction of forces. Assessment does not include quantitative force size, only qualitative and relative. Assessment is limited to gravity being addressed as a force that pulls objects down.

Balance - Gravitational Forces

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