The Business and Science of Fidget Spinners! STEM Integrated Project
"Fidget spinners" were originally marketed as aides for individuals with anxiety, autism and ADHD - some pitches include promises of greater concentration for people with those conditions, or even bring out the creative genius lying deep within you.
Fidget spinners are small, ball-bearing devices that the user can rotate between his or her fingers. The momentum of the toy provides a pleasing sensory experience, according to user reviews, while the challenge of tossing, transferring and twirling the spinners has spawned an entire universe of instructional YouTube videos.
Whether it's therapy, or just a toy you confiscate in class, they are definitely a business worth exploring…
This project gives students the opportunity to go through the engineering design process and build a fidget spinner of their own design! It also explores the creation of various parts of a business plan, the math behind the manufacturing process, and the physics found in fidget spinners.
CTE: Manufacturing Fidget Spinners
These lessons introduce students to basic G Code and to I's, J's, and R's - these basic codes are needed in order to understand how CNC machines function. They are needed in order to run CNC machines, without a basic knowledge of them students will not be able to troubleshoot problems when they arise. Students learn to 3D model and print a fidget spinner, and then learn to cut their functional spinner on the CNC mill.
Math: The Math Behind the Machines
These lessons provide the math necessary to run manufacturing machines, including the Cartesian Coordinate System, and the trigonometric functions sine, cosine, and tangent - In the manufacturing of a fidget spinner often times the coordinates inputted to create a fidget spinner is missing and only an angle and one side is given. Understanding how to find the length of one side of a triangle is crucial to the input in CNC mill.
Business: Building a Fidget Business
These lessons will provide opportunities to participate in the building of a business plan, through the exploration of certain business plan basics, including the mission statement, the design and creation of the logo, and perform a break-even-point analysis as part of a financial plan.
Physics: Just Keep Spinning
These lessons will provide students with the opportunity to gain an introductory understanding of rotational motion and the effect of its laws on the fidget spinner performance. The lessons allow students to answer the question, "What will keep my fidget spinner spinning the longest?" Lessons are designed using the 5E model of science instruction, and use guided inquiry throughout.
This unit is brought to you by Elena Marker (CTE), Alma Moya (Math), Tony Tyler (Business) and Jeff Sum (Physics) with support from the CTE Online curriculum leadership team and detailed coordination provided by team lead Gregg Witkin.