Mobile Science

Activity Summary

Teams will explore levers and balance through building a mobile.

Video Engagement Links

Required Materials

  • Plastic Straws
  • Paper Clips (55mm; at least 50)
  • Paper
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Small Level
  • (Optional) Colored Paper

Before the activity make sure students have a basic understanding of balance and mobiles. Show photos of basic mobiles and more elaborate ones as well.  See the image at right.straw-paper-clip-mobile

Each team will need a clear area on a table or floor to build their mobiles. Also a secure location to hang their mobiles should be set up. This could be as simple as a dowel or meter stick between tables, chairs, or desks.

Advise teams that the straws should be connected using different lengths of paper clip chains in a way that allows all the mobile pieces to be at different levels so they spin freely. Although it is not necessary for this activity, students may like to cut out shapes from colorful paper to attach to the ends of their mobiles. Students will have 20 minutes to build and balance their mobiles.

Standards Covered

NGSS Standard(s): 3-ETS1-1, 3-ETS1-2, 3-ETS1-3, 3-PS2-1, 3-PS2-2, 4-ETS1-1, 4-ETS1-2, 4-ETS1-3, 5-ETS1-1, 5-ETS1-2, 5-ETS1-3, 5-PS2-1

CCSS Standard(s): ELA, Math, MP.2, MP.5, W.3.2, W.4.2, W.5.2