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This Exploratorium site provides a demonstration using an ordinary bicycle wheel and rotating stool to show how gyroscopes behave.  A person sitting on the stool is turned due to a change in the direction of the axis of rotation of the bike wheel.  The site provides an explanation of the physics involved including the concepts of the conservation of angular momentum and torque. There is also an extension activity. This activity is part of Exploratorium's Science Snacks series.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Classical Mechanics
- Applications of Newton's Laws
- Motion in Two Dimensions
- Rotational Dynamics
- High School
- Informal Education
- Middle School
- Lower Undergraduate
- Instructional Material
= Activity
Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
- Conceptual Physics
- Algebra-based Physics
- AP Physics
- Lesson Plan
- Activity
- Laboratory
- New teachers
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Free access
© 2006 Exploratorium
angular momentum, conservation law, precession, rotational momentum, torque
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created June 12, 2006 by Ann Deml
Record Updated:
August 2, 2016 by Lyle Barbato
Last Update
when Cataloged:
August 2, 2006
Other Collections:

This resource is part of a Physics Front Topical Unit.

Topic: Dynamics: Forces and Motion
Unit Title: Rotational Dynamics

This item is a fun demonstration using an ordinary bicycle wheel and rotating stool to illustrate conservation of angular momentum.  A person sits on the stool and spins a bicycle wheel on a hand-made axis.  The person twists the spinning wheel, and the rotating stool also begins to turn.    The author provides a full explanation of the physics involved.

Link to Unit:
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Record Link
AIP Format
(Exploratorium, San Francisco, 2006), WWW Document, (https://www.exploratorium.edu/snacks/bicycle-wheel-gyro).
Bicycle Wheel Gyro (Exploratorium, San Francisco, 2006), <https://www.exploratorium.edu/snacks/bicycle-wheel-gyro>.
APA Format
Bicycle Wheel Gyro. (2006, August 2). Retrieved May 23, 2024, from Exploratorium: https://www.exploratorium.edu/snacks/bicycle-wheel-gyro
Chicago Format
Exploratorium. Bicycle Wheel Gyro. San Francisco: Exploratorium, August 2, 2006. https://www.exploratorium.edu/snacks/bicycle-wheel-gyro (accessed 23 May 2024).
MLA Format
Bicycle Wheel Gyro. San Francisco: Exploratorium, 2006. 2 Aug. 2006. 23 May 2024 <https://www.exploratorium.edu/snacks/bicycle-wheel-gyro>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Title = {Bicycle Wheel Gyro}, Publisher = {Exploratorium}, Volume = {2024}, Number = {23 May 2024}, Month = {August 2, 2006}, Year = {2006} }
Refer Export Format

%T Bicycle Wheel Gyro %D August 2, 2006 %I Exploratorium %C San Francisco %U https://www.exploratorium.edu/snacks/bicycle-wheel-gyro %O text/html

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source %D August 2, 2006 %T Bicycle Wheel Gyro %I Exploratorium %V 2024 %N 23 May 2024 %8 August 2, 2006 %9 text/html %U https://www.exploratorium.edu/snacks/bicycle-wheel-gyro

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