Education Technology

Balancing Act (HS)

Updated on 10/04/2017

Activity Overview

In this lesson, students will simulate, observe and manipulate the variables of lever and fulcrum as well as force vectors and torque.


  • Students will describe a lever and fulcrum.
  • Students will define force vectors and torque.
  • Students will solve proportions for balancing different weights on a teeter-totter balance.


  • acceleration
  • mass
  • force
  • Newton
  • fulcrum
  • simple machine
  • gravity
  • torque
  • lever

About the Lesson

Adapted from a PhETTM simulation, this lesson is a simulation of a teeter-totter where people and objects of different masses are placed at either end to test for balance.  This provides and opportunity to explore a lever and fulcrum simple machine, as well as to measure torque

As a result students will:

  • Describe a lever and fulcrum
  • Define weight as a force, as well as the unit of measurements for force.
  • Measure torque and solve equations involving torque.
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