Fidget Spinners, Physics, and Sir Isaac Newton


by Ted BeyerTed Beyer, Educational Innovations, Inc.

Fidget spinners are the latest fad to sweep, seemingly, the world. Love them or hate them, they are everywhere—on playgrounds, in backyards, living rooms, and even schools, although many schools have banned them as being distractions.  But wait just a minute here!  For once, let’s see if we can’t use a fad to teach something.  You see, there is actually a fair bit of science lurking in those spinney things.

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Join Our Elementary Science Club Today!


Tami O'Connorby Tami G. O’Connor

As elementary school teachers, we are expected to help our students become scientifically literate (among many other things), but let’s face it:  too often we have limited time for science instruction during the school day.  Still, we know that kids just love science!  They’re always eager to learn more about the world around them, especially when the material is taught in fun and creative ways.

But what can we do when our science teaching time is so limited in school?  How do you get students involved in scientific discovery outside the classroom?  Sure, you can give them homework, but many kids find simply reading about science unappealing.  You want your students to LOVE learning more about science… not dread it.

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What Does It Take to Be an Engineer?


What Does It Take to Be an Engineer? - Educational Innovations BlogBy Cathy Byrne

This is one of my favorite team-building, icebreaker activities.  It’s also a great way to introduce your students to engineering!  It can be done with students at many different grade levels.  At the beginning of class, I start by welcoming my students to the staff of [Insert-the-name-of-your-school-here] Engineering Company.

I split the class into small groups and tell them: your team has been tasked with constructing the tallest free-standing tower you can build with the materials provided.  I give each team a bag containing 20 pipe cleaners and I let them dive right in.  It doesn’t take long for the teams to figure out that they need a strong base to hold the flimsy pipe cleaners.

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Don’t Be Left in the Dark! The Great Eclipse August 21, 2017


by Priscilla Robinson

Science teachers aren’t the only ones energized about the eclipse of the Sun.  People everywhere are anticipated to take time on Monday to view this cosmic phenomenon.  All of North America will be in its path, with a huge swath of the United States witnessing a total solar eclipse.  From Salem, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina, twelve states are in the path of totality.  So whether you are a teacher just back to school or a parent trying to make some final summer memories, check it out.  It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity for you and the kids.

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Using the ZigZag Density Tumbler In (and Out) of the Classroom


by Linda Dunnavant

The ZigZag Density Tumbler is an elegant desk “toy” and much more.  Turn the tumbler over and watch two different colors of droplets float down in a relaxing zigzag pattern.  I like to keep mine on my desk so that I can pick it up and watch it while I clear my head.  In addition to being a soothing, relaxing activity for busy adults, it provides myriad possibilities for calming, inspiring, and teaching students. Read the rest of this entry »