• BIKES: Science on Two Wheels - Demonstrations

BIKES: Science on Two Wheels

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Bike Demos

Newton's Laws of Cycling
Use the bicycle wheel like a giant gyroscope to explore Newton's laws of angular momentum and torque. Compare and contrast linear and rotational motion.

Use gyroscopes to explore angular momentum. Balance a spinning gyroscope on a pencil, string, or even another spinning gyroscope.

Ball Bearings Bonanza
Experiment with friction and use marbles to make bearings for a spinning whirligig. This activity is an introduction to friction and bearings and demonstrates why bearings are useful in bicycles.

Balancing Stick Trick
Explore how the distribution of the mass of an object determines the position of its center of gravity, its angular momentum, and your ability to balance it. Learners discover it is easier to balance a wooden dowel on the tip of their fingers when a weight is near the top of the stick.

Heart Rate Roundup
Discover how their heart rate changes in different situations. Learners measure their baseline heart rates and compare them to their heart rates after completing various physical challenges and cardiovascular activities. Learners record this data on a table and plot it on a graph.

Center of Mass Stackers
Stack boxes that have sneakily positioned centers of mass. The end result is a bizarre looking tower that remains upright even when it looks like it should fall over.

Switch Gears
Get an up-close look at derailleurs and the Bowden cables that allow modern bicycles to change gears. Spin the pedals and move the levers to slide the bicycle chain up and down the sprockets. Learn which gears are good for speed and which are good for climbing hills.

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