Can you balance a fork on a glass?

Can you balance a fork on a glass?

Try this trick at the table!

What you need:

  • Two metal forks
  • Play-Doh - you could use modelling clay or a cork instead
  • Toothpick
  • Glass

How to:

Can you work out how to balance the forks on the glass with the materials above? Have a go at working it out! The answer is after the photograph.


1. Roll the Play-Doh into a ball around 5cm in diameter.

2. Push the end of the toothpick into the Play-Doh.

3. Push the prongs of one of the forks into the Play-Doh.

4. Push the prongs of the second fork into the Play-Doh so the forks look like bent wings. The sculpture you've made should be roughly symmetrical.

5. Turn the glass over and place the end of the toothpick on it.

Balance forks

6. Do the forks balance? If not, keep adjusting the forks until they do balance.

What's happening?

It can take a while to adjust the forks so that they balance on the glass. Keep trying until it works!

Gravity is the force that pulls objects toward the centre of the Earth. An object's centre of gravity is the average location of the weight of the object.

In your fork-Play-Doh-toothpick sculpture, the bottoms of the forks are below the bottom of the toothpick. This means that the centre of gravity is actually just below where the toothpick is balanced. You can balance the object on the toothpick, without it falling over.

Curriculum information

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