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Investigate a Twirling Toy—Flinn STEM Design Challenge™

By: The Flinn Staff

Item #: AP8053 

Price: $20.74

In Stock.

Investigate a Twirling Toy—Flinn STEM Design Challenge™ for physical science and physics is a fun and easy to make model that is sure to introduce science and engineering practices.

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Product Details

Engage students in science and engineering practices with a simple toy! This twirling toy, sometimes referred to as a paper helicopter or whirligig, is easy to make and students of all levels will have fun investigating variables that affect its motion. In the introductory activity, students are presented with three different spinning toy models. During experimentation, they gather data and make observations regarding the spin, flight path, stability and descent time of each model. Students then choose a variable to test with each model and continue to record data and make observations. A design challenge is then presented with specific criteria and constraints. Based on the evidence collected, students optimize the design solution and create their own spinning toy to meet the challenge. A great activity to deepen understanding of scientific inquiry and engineering design processes. Complete for 30 students working in pairs.


Materials Included in Kit: 
Paper clips, box of 100
Twirling toy template, white cardstock, set/15

Correlation to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

Science & Engineering Practices

Asking questions and defining problems
Developing and using models
Planning and carrying out investigations
Analyzing and interpreting data
Engaging in argument from evidence
Constructing explanations and designing solutions
Obtaining, evaluation, and communicating information

Disciplinary Core Ideas

MS-ETS1.A: Defining and Delimiting Engineering Problems
MS-ETS1.B: Developing Possible Solutions
MS-ETS1.C: Optimizing the Design Solution
MS-PS2.A: Forces and Motion
HS-PS2.A: Forces and Motion

Crosscutting Concepts

Cause and effect
Scale, proportion, and quantity
Systems and system models
Structure and function

Performance Expectations

MS-ETS1-2. Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
MS-ETS1-3. Analyze data from tests to determine similarities and differences among several design solutions to identify the best characteristics of each that can be combined into a new solution to better meet the criteria for success.
MS-ETS1-4. Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.