A seesaw is a balanced board that moves up and down when two people sit on either end. It is a popular toy for children and used in science lessons. Seesaws can also be used practically to generate electricity or pump water. However, there are dangers, and precautions are taken to prevent injuries. Seesaws are also used in stunts by acrobats.
A seesaw is a board that is balanced on a fulcrum. When two people sit at either end of a seesaw, they can use their respective weights to move the ends of the board up and down, causing the person at the other end of the board to move. Seesaws commonly appear in playgrounds, because they are popular toys for children, and sometimes adults also indulge in a little swing, because it can be deeply entertaining when the two users hit a rhythm.
There are a variety of regional names for the swing, including seesaw, tilt board, rocking board, and teedle board. In all cases, the basic seesaw mechanics are the same, and because seesaws are simple and easy to understand, they are often used as examples of levers in science lessons. Especially in the early stages of learning physics, seesaws crop up quite frequently in word problems.
While swings are most frequently used as toys, they have some practical uses as well. For example, a seesaw can be connected to a turbine, harnessing the energy of the motion to generate electricity. Swings can also be attached to water pumping mechanisms. In some rural communities, swings are often used for these purposes, allowing children’s play to generate a positive benefit for the community at large.
There are some dangers to using a swing set. A sudden shift in weight or a sharp dismount from one end of the swing can send the person flying off the other side, sometimes to comical effect and sometimes to great risk of injury. Because injuries are a concern, many swing sets are located in areas with padding, so that when someone falls, he or she will not be seriously injured. Children are also commonly warned to be careful when using a swing.
Seesaws are also used in stunts. The same airborne descent that can be dangerous for children can be useful for an acrobat, who can swing with a partner to gain more momentum for flips and other feats. In this sense, a seesaw is almost like a stepping stone, and when used by trained acrobats, a variety of tricks can be performed on a seesaw that can be visually interesting.