Age range: 16+
Duration: 0 - 29 mins
  • Maths

Beam and mass

Exploring moments

In this practical activity a metre rule or wooden beam is attached to a hinge support at one end. A luggage scale is used to measure the reaction force at the other end. Can you use your knowledge of mechanics to predict the value of this force when a mass is attached at various positions along the beam? Do the calculations and then check your predictions.

This practical is designed to be easily set up and carried out in a maths classroom using simple equipment. It will help students to understand the mechanics topic of moments in A level Mathematics.

The video features the equipment needed and the practical procedure. The teacher notes contain additional guidance on carrying out the activity, sample calculations and suggested points for discussion, as well as an indication of some relevant real-life applications.


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Teacher notes

Beam and mass activity description and teachers' notes.