Our first investigation came from a wondering many students had:
Why do fidget spinners spin for so long? This led Room 2 to discuss what surfaces objects can spin on for the longest amount of time? We thought this was a scientific question worth investigating.
Step 1 was for students to build their own spinners.
Step 2, was to come up with a way of testing the spinners on surfaces. We decided to test our spinners on a range of surfaces and time how long they spun for. Before we started testing though, we had to make a hypothesis about what surface we thought might be the best and worst and discuss why. To do this, we ranked the surfaces we would test from 1-7 for the best surface to the worst.
I think it will spin longest on the wooden floor because it is smooth and hard. I think it will spin the shortest on the bark because it isn't smooth
This is what students found out from their investigations.
Vinyl worked best for me because it was smooth. Smooth surfaces have less friction Mason
My marble didn't spin as long as the others because it wasn’t as smooth. It made more friction Casey
Having touched on friction already, we decided to explore this further through friction towers.
I challenged students by asking them if they thought I could apply enough force to a stack of coins with a butter knife, to knock a coin out but keep the stack standing?
We discussed if this was even possible? This led us to our scientific question to investigate: What materials work the best when trying to force them out with a butter knife? The class tested a range of materials including dice, coins, one’s blocks and counters.
This is what some students found out from their investigations.
The coins worked the best for us because the surface of the coins weren’t fully touching each other because the sides of the coins were raised. This made the coins slide out from the stack easier - Dorian
The square counters worked best because they were smooth and flat -Austin
Riley used just the right amount of force to get the best results.
If students used too much force, some of the stacks fell apart.
The dice and ones blocks didn't work because they were too big and had too far to fall Riley
Keywords: Forces, spinners, friction, hypothesis, investigations