STEM Activity: Spin Your Way to Summer Fun
Discover the power of centripetal force as you design a one-of-a-kind ride for your favorite figures or characters!
- Egg carton
- Hole punch
- Mini figures, eraser characters, or clay or dough figures
- Take a clean egg carton and cut off the top lid.
- Cut the bottom of the carton in half, so that only six compartments remain.
- Punch a hole through each corner compartment (four holes in total). Be careful not to make your holes too close to the edge.
- Cut four 2-foot pieces of string, and tie each string through one of the holes.
- Bring the ends of all four strings together. With the carton balanced, tie the strings in a knot.
- Find mini figures or small eraser characters, or make characters out of clay or dough, and place one in each of the six compartments.
- Find an open area outside to test your ride.
- Holding the knot on the strings with your arm straight out, spin the container around in a circle and try to keep your figures in their compartments.
- Experiment with holding it in front of you, as well as out to the side, and find what works best to give your characters a safe, fun ride!
What Are We Discovering?
With this activity, we can explore Newton’s First Law and centripetal force! Newton’s First Law states that an object will keep moving on a straight path unless acted on by an outside force. In this case, centripetal force is the outside force that acts in an inward direction on an object that is moving in a circular path! It is what helps to keep you (and your characters) from flying off a spinning object like a merry-go-round. National Inventors Hall of Fame® Inductee Otto Wichterle harnessed the power of centripetal force to soften a material (HEMA), inventing soft contacts and the process to manufacture them! Using an old record player and a Merkur set, he built a device to spin the material that has helped millions of people improve their vision. What objects from around your home could you use to create an invention?
Recharge Your Summer
Looking for a fun summer program that provides even more hands-on activities? Visit our website to learn why Camp Invention® might be exactly what you’re looking for!