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The Science Behind Fidget Spinners!

Fidget spinners! Kids love them, but teachers...not so much. Fidget spinners can be distracting, just like any other fad (hey, anyone up for some water bottle flipping?) and their popularity can detract from their usefulness for kids who do actually use them as a concentration tool.

 Five different colored fidget spinners against a white background

But, they're also a great way to explore some science! What makes them so easy to balance? How can we tell which spinner will win the spinning race? What's going on when you flip a spinner from up to down, mid-spin?

Rhett Allain over at Wired has some great explanations and experiments in his article on fidget spinners. The math might be over the head of most middle-school kids, but he makes the physics concepts behind the spinners pretty clear. Check it out with your students! But first, make them put down their spinners. Only for a moment.

What are some other ways you've found to put trending fads to good use?

 

Dog jumping into pool --

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