STEAM with Fidget Spinners


IMG_7750 A few weeks ago, I was on my Perler Bead Facebook Groups and our latest challenge was creating Fidget Spinners. The Fidget Spinner has been around for a while, the spinner works on a simple premise where you have to put it on one finger then use your other hand to keep it going. It also works perfectly for killing time when you’re bored waiting for someone, or chilling out for something to happen. They have become the norm in schools to the point they can also create a unique oppurtunity for STEM and STEAM lessons and projects. 

If you haven’t seen Erintegration on Instagram , Erin is a super teacher when it comes from everything from iPad to STEM activities. She recently shared a great STEM lesson pack for Fidget Spinners on Teachers Pay Teachers.  However, as we know Fidget Spinners can get expensive and a cheap brand will break after constant use. I saw this as a great way to combine my love of STEAM, Perler Beads and Social Media together to create some great lesson ideas or projects you can do with your students.

  1. My neighbor’s daughter as a fidget that causes her to constantly crack her knuckles when she gets nervous or during work time. However, they are waiting to buy her a really nice spinner that will last. I decided to make her one. She loves Pokemon, so I used a pattern of a Pokemon Lure Ball pixel art to create a circular spinner. The steps are below:

    Now, while for my neighbor’s daughter, this was a stronger and cheaper alternative. How can this be used in the classroom? A simple activity is having students see how many times can a student spin their spinner in 30 seconds. Then in 45 seconds and then in 1 minute. Then have them try to out do those numbers and have them write down the differences between the times. It’s a great Math activity. Another is using a geometric spinner, what shapes can they see after one spin? What about two spins?

  2. Have them spin and see where the arrow stops after spinning it. What objects are in that direction? What land masses? Students can create a biography on the items.
  3. Have students create their own spinners using Perler Beads. Have them design their spinners. Have a driving question board: “What makes an awesome fidget spinner for you?” Have students design, practice and create their fridget spinner. They can be anything from the Batman Logo to Sonic the Hedgehog  in his super spin move. It’s a great way to promote engineering, design and FAIL and SAIL.
  4. You can also switch gears and go 3D printing too. Design customized spinners using a 3D printing program and creating bearing pins and more to give it an excellent “spin”.

I am planning on creating a several projects and lesson plans I will be sharing in the weeks ahead. These are just a few ideas to get you and your students STEAMing with spinners.


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