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Whirly Twirly Spinning Tops

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Be a creative, science detective. Make your own Whirly, Twirly Spinning Top toys, have fun playing with them and think about how you can make them spin faster and longer. Try out your ideas.

What you need:

  • A piece cardboard
  • A circular object e.g. tin, cup, small bowl to draw around or a compass
  • Crayons, coloured pencils, felt tips, paints or other colouring media
  • A toothpick, cocktail stick or small bamboo skewer
  • Sticky tape
  • Scissors
  • A pin
  • Small piece of blu tack, an eraser or cork (for safety when making the hole in the cardboard)

What to do:

  1. Place a circular object on your piece of card and draw around it. (OR draw a circle using a compass.)

  1. Carefully cut out the circle.
  2. Colour or paint the circle however you like.

Top tips:

  • If you use paints to decorate your circle, you will need to let it dry before moving on to step 4.
  • Painted cardboard sometimes curls up as it dries. If your cardboard curls up, put it under a pile of books for a few hours to flatten it.

    Be careful, Steps 4, 5 and 6 can be tricky. Take care not to hurt yourself. Ask an adult to help you with this.

  1. Mark the center of the circle with a pencil.

  2. Place a piece of blu tack (eraser or cork) on your work surface. Place your card circle on top of the blu tack making sure that the center of the circle is over it.

  3. Push a pin through the center of the circle into the blu tack.

  1. Carefully remove the pin.

  2. Push a toothpick through the hole in the center of the circle.

  3. Tape the toothpick in place with a small piece of sticky tape. (Taping stops the cardboard from slipping down the toothpick)

  4. Get spinning!

Top tips

  • Getting the spinner to spin can be tricky. Make sure you are holding the spinner vertically when you start spinning.
  • Moving the cardboard circle slightly up or down the toothpick and re-taping it may help to make it spin better.
  • Keep trying, it takes practice.

Be a science detective

Investigate different ways of making spinning tops. Make predictions about what you think might happen and test them out.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • What happens when you use a different sized circles of cardboard to make your spinning top?

  • Do spinning tops have to be circles? Make spinning tops out of squares, rectangles and triangles of card. Predict which shapes you think will spin the best and then test it out.

  • Does the way you use your hand to spin the top make it spin differently?

  • What happens when you spin your spinning top on different surfaces?

  • Does adding weight to your spinner make it spin better?

  • Make spinning tops out of different materials e.g. paper, plastic container lids, thicker card, old CDs. Predict which you think will spin best then spin them to find out.

Thursday February 11th, 2021
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