Education ISTE

Using The Fidget Spinner In The Classroom

Erintegration Has The Answer To Fidget Spinners In The Classroom

fidgetspinners-top Using The Fidget Spinner In The Classroom

Just days ago we brought you the story of Tara Martin and how she’s using Snapchat to improve reading and engagement in the classroom. Now we check out fidget spinners.  As fidget spinners rose to popularity over the last few months, outcry against them has started to flourish. Some insist that fidget spinners were created for autistic children, while others insist they were created for kids with attention deficit disorders. Hold your horses though, most accounts suggest that they were originally designed for adults.

Adults you say? Depending on what you read (we’re going with the adult story), fidget spinners were created for adults with attention disorders. You know, the kind of adults that fidget with their car keys in meetings, eat pens until they are nothing but ink and a point, or constantly check their phones. There’s also sites that suggest that the beloved toys are used with people to quit smoking, hence why most vape shops across the country sell them. Yes they can be for kids too and there are a variety of companies that are marketing them to children.

Then, they end up in the classroom.

Toys don’t belong in the classroom, period. I could never take my Legos or my Gameboy to class. But the lines are blurry now. I remember a time when a beeper or a cell phone in class would warrant a suspension. Now, smartphones are integrated into classroom study.

But what about that distracting fidget spinner?

I remember a time when my elementary school teachers would have a drawer full of matchbox cars, jacks, Legos and any other handheld toy. She would take the toys throughout the year and we could have them back on the last day of school. Well rather than fill the confiscation drawer with fidget spinners, and have to take calls from clueless parents, Erin has come up with some real meaningful ways to use the fidget spinner in class.

“While I think that unfettered access to fidget spinners in the classroom is a distraction,  instead of getting fed up, I try to learn something from it and put a positive spin on it! In fact, I think it is rather refreshing that students have gravitated towards hands-on items.  The more things change, the more they stay the same – who remembers marbles, Pogs, rubric cubes for example.” she said in a blog post. 

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Like iPads, smart phones and Chromebooks, Erin goes with the notion that fidget spinners in class aren’t toys but tools. She has a STEM corner in her room where fidget spinners would “fit right in”.

Erin has created a Fidget Spinner STEM Project. The complete resource guide is available here at teacherspayteachers.com

With her project students will be able to:

  • observing their spinners.
  • developing a spinning technique.
  • investigating the length of time of their spinner stays spinning.
  • finding the average spin length.
  • graphing the spin times.
  • comparing and graphing class data of all of the spinners.
  • repsonding to critical thinking questions looking at how human error can influence the data.
  • using what they learned to design their own spinner.
  • creating a slow-mo video of their spinner (just like with the Blow Cup Challenge, slow motion video can help students observe motion and understand more of the science behind how things work).

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Erin has even gone into the science behind how fidget spinners work. If you don’t know, it’s about ball bearings, gravity and motion. But complete details are in her Project. 

There are other uses for fidget spinners in the classroom too. Erin points out you can use them for actual spinners. Just attach an arrow to one of the sides of the spinner and voila. See her image below. All of her templates are available here.

This is just the beginning to managing the fidget spinner in the classroom. Fidget spinners will continue to rise in popularity over the summer. Be prepared next school year with these tools from Erintegration. Her site is chalk full of ides and implementations for the latest crazes. Visit Erintegration.com here. 

Headed to ISTE 2017, check out our ISTE coverage  here. 

PRP-ISTE Using The Fidget Spinner In The Classroom