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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Fossils and Dinosaurs Discussion Starters


Discussion Starters - Educational Innovations NewsletterIt’s easy to start a discussion about fossils and paleontology:  just ask your students to name their favorite dinosaurs.  Everybody’s got one!

Depending upon the grade(s) you teach, your discussion may revolve around characteristics and classification of specific dinosaurs, the concept of extinction, the field of paleontology, or much more.  We’ve amassed a wealth of links and ideas that we’re sure will help you get your class excited about learning more.  So… start digging!

If you have any ideas for new discussion starters on this topic, you’re invited to share with us in the comments section below.

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Fossils and Dinosaurs TV


EI TV - Educational Innovations BlogAn astonishing amount of information can be learned from fossilized bones that are millions of years old, but what about the many questions that we can’t know for sure?  How fast did dinosaurs move?  Did any species have feathers?  Who picks the names of newly-discovered species?  We may not have any living specimens around to observe, but there are hundreds of excellent videos that share information about what dino life might have been like.

If you find a video that you’d like to share with us, please leave a comment!

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