Angels Dancing on the Head of a Pin

Thanks very much to Joanne Moodhe, who posted this activity to the Guiding Mailing List!

Challenge: We may never know how many angels can dance on the head of a real pin, but your challenge is to balance these 14 angels on the head of this pin.

Supplies: One (1) 4 inch nail, with a head on it, nailed securely into a 4-inch or larger square block of wood. 14 additional nails of the same size.

The angels are common nails with heads, about 4 inches or so in length.  All should be the same length. The goal is to figure out how to balance all 14 nails on the head of the one that is already secured in the wood block.

The Solution:  Lay one nail down on the table. Take 12 nails and lay the heads across the shaft of the first nail in alternating directions, with the nail heads resting against the shaft of the first nail. Lay the final nail across the 12 nails, in the same direction as the first nail. Pick up the entire nail sandwich by the first and last nails and balance this nail sandwich on the nail in the wood.

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