Easy Paper Spinners

I was so surprised at how well these easy paper spinners worked, they take less than two minutes to put together, spin amazingly well and inspire some great investigations.

Easy paper spinner

Easy Paper Spinners

What you need:      

Different types of paper

Paper clips


Easy Paper Spinners


Watch the video for instructions of how to make the paper spinners.

Hold the top of the spinner between your fingers ( paperclip end down ) and let it fall to the ground, does it spin?

Things to think about

Consider factors that might affect how fast the spinner falls:

  • Type of paper
  • Number of paper clips
  • Size of spinner
  • Height dropped from

Extension Activity

Children can then design a fair test to find out how one factor affects the time the spinner takes to fall. Think about whether to use a timer or drop two spinner at the same time. 

Challenge 1

Try to make the slowest spinner? What do you need to change?

Challenge 2

Did you know astronauts aboard the ISS will return to Earth in a capsule of the Soyuz? Their descent is slowed down using a parachute, why would  a mechanism like our spinners not be a good alternative?

Challenge 3

Ask children to develop a different spinner design.

Learning points

Air resistance slows moving objects and that when an object falls, air resistance acts in the opposite direction to the weight.

Children should discover that the weight of an object makes a difference to the speed of its fall.

Children should be able to explain the forces acting on the spinner as it falls to the ground (air resistance pushes up and weight of the object pulls down).

Suitable for:

Key Stage 1 Science

Working Scientifically

  • Asking simple questions and recognising that they can be answered in different ways
  • Observing closely, using simple equipment
  • Performing simple tests
  • Identifying and classifying
  • Using their observations and ideas to suggest answers to questions
  • Gathering and recording data to help in answering questions.

Upper Key Stage 2 – Forces

Easy paper spinners

There are 2 comments

  1. MerryAnn

    I’ve done this with Year 1. Was a great way of doing a practical investigation tied into the seasonal change aspect of the year 1 science curriculum. We were looking at the seeds and leaves that we’re falling as part of our autumn work and inspired to make our own spinners and investigate how changing them affected how they fell.

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