STEM Challenge – Cat in the Hat Balance Challenge

This month we are adding to what we learned last month and taking a deeper dive into gravity! This Cat in the Hat themed balance challenge, in honor of Dr. Seuss’s birthday coming up on 3/2,  will help you practice balancing and finding your center of gravity. 

Visit our blog every Thursday to see our latest STEM challenge and share your creations on social media using #CMMSSTEMChallenge or by emailing marketing@childrensmanor.com. Be sure to submit your photos to us by Monday, February 22, 2021!

In Cat in the Hat, one of the cat’s first tricks is a crazy balancing trick:

Look at me!
Look at me now!” said the cat.
“With a cup and a cake
On the top of my hat!
I can hold TWO books!
I can hold up the fish!
And a little toy ship!
And some milk on a dish!
And look!
I can hop up and down on the ball!
But that is not all!

He tries to balance more and more things until they all come crashing to the ground! In our Cat in the Hat Science Lesson, we will‌ learn ‌why ‌this‌ ‌happens.

Background Information:

The center of gravity is the point on an object (or person or cat or collection of items!) around which the entire object balances. It is the one spot where you can balance an entire object. We are going to gather some items and see if you can find the center of gravity.


We are going to start out by finding the center of gravity of different objects. To find the center of gravity, you are going to balance objects on a single point. Most symmetrical objects need to be balanced in the middle of the object.

      1. Start with making a short tower of blocks. To stack them, you are finding the center of gravity of the block to put them on top of each other.
      2. Next, try to balance a big, heavy book on top of the tower without it falling over. Remember you will want to find the middle of the book and place that on the tower so it can balance.
      3. Can you find the center of gravity of another object or objects (such as balancing a pencil on the end of your finger)?
Raw Egg
      1. Some objects are trickier. This challenge is going to have you try to balance a raw egg to stand up. Please be gentle so you don’t break it! Try to balance the egg on your own, and then read our hint below for the trick to balance it.
        • HINT: Normally the yolk is suspended in the middle of the egg. If you shake it really hard, the yolk will sink to the bottom of the egg. This moves the center of gravity lower in the egg and makes it easier to balance the egg on its end!
Your Body

Now it is time to use our own bodies and find our center of gravity. Like the Cat in the Hat, we are going to balance crazy items, while standing on one foot on a chair! 

      1. First, start on the ground: can you balance while standing on one foot? How long can you go without falling?  Can you place an item, such as a book, on your head and keep it on while standing on one foot? 
      2. Next, with the supervision of a parent, try to balance on one foot while standing on a chair.
      3. Now we are going to add some crazy items – try to balance a paper plate with a plastic cup or water bottle in one hand while standing on a chair on one foot! What other crazy items can you balance in your hands?
Impossible Gravity Challenges

Here are two challenges that are impossible because of gravity. Give them a try and see if you can defy gravity!

      1. Stand right in front of a wall (with your back to the wall) so that both your heels are touching the wall. Place an object about 1.5 feet in front of you and try to pick it up without bending your knees, moving your heels, or tipping over! It is impossible to do without bending your knees or moving your heels! 
      2. Stand next to a wall (sideways) with your left cheek and the left side of your left foot touching the wall. Now try to lift your right foot and remain standing. You will find It’s impossible to lift up your right foot without tipping over! 

We can’t wait to see what crazy and creative items you balanced to find the center of gravity!  Don’t forget to send a photo of you testing and finding these centers of gravity to marketing@childrensmanor.com by Monday, February 22!

Activity Credit: Preschool Powol Packets