Almost everyone flails their arms when they're trying to maintain their balance. Why do our brains react this way? In this series of balance games, students discover how their bodies compensate when their centres of gravity shift.
The centre of gravity is the average location of the force of gravity on an object. The centre of gravity of an object could also be called its balance point. If you support the centre of gravity, the object will balance. If an object is not supported directly below its centre of gravity then the object will topple over. This explains why a wide stance helps you keep your balance. As you move your centre of gravity (near your belly button) to and fro, it stays above your support (your feet).
In physical games, people must readjust their bodies so that their centre of gravity is directly above their base. They do this by leaning or by moving their legs and arms. When you're unbalanced, your brain automatically tries to shift your body so that your centre of gravity is above your base.
In this series of activities, we look at how the participants' bodies adjust to keep their balance, and maintain their centre of gravity over their base.
Example: Three-legged race.
The centre of gravity of the pair of participants is somewhere in between the two of them. They adjust to support their combined shape.