Here’s a fun science experiment for kids with a simple helicopter style twirler.  These toothpick twirlers spin as they fall!

Toothpick Twirlers Science Experiment

Here’s how to make one:

Toothpick Twirlers Science Experiment

Gather your supplies:  paper, scissors, toothpicks, and tape.  You might also want markers for decorating.

Cut a strip of paper and fold it in half like this:

Toothpick Twirlers Science Experiment

Then fold like this:

Toothpick Twirlers Science Experiment

Poke a toothpick through the folded part and secure it in place with tape.  If you add stripes to the wings, the twirler will look like colored circles as it falls!

Toothpick Twirlers Science Experiment

Now, make it an experiment!

This experiment lends itself well to learning about changing one variable at a time.  It’s best if you can drop the twirlers from a staircase so that you have enough distance to really get a feel for performance.

  • Which twirls better – short or long wings?
  • Which twirls better – narrow or wide wings?
  • (Make it more complicated) – Which twirls better – short and narrow, short and wide, long and narrow, or long and wide?  Make a chart and record your results.
  • Do the twirlers always spin in the same direction?
  • Does a faster spinning twirler take more or less time to reach the ground?

(Hint) This twirler was especially successful for us:

Toothpick Twirlers Science Experiment

 Have fun experimenting!

2 Comments

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  1. Leah Jul 18, 2015

    After folding the paper strip in half, I'm confused by how you fold it again to make the wings. Help.

    Reply
    1. Cynthia Peel Dec 23, 2015

      Please explain just how to fold the paper and insert the toothpick. We played with it a bit, but couldn't get it right. Thank you!

      Reply
    2. Birdie Feb 8, 2016

      Thiinkng like that is really amazing

      Reply

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