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YOU SPIN ME ROUND, ROUND

Learn about gyroscopic flight by making a frisbee

Suitable For

Grade 3

Difficulty

1

Time Required

 <1 Hour

Supervision

Advised

What’s it about?

People have always been fascinated by the science of flight and have built many flying objects over decades to overcome the earth’s gravity. A Frisbee is one of these objects. Frisbees use the power of the air to fly. According to Bernoulli’s principle, moving air’s pressure decreases as its speed increases, this enables objects to fly. In this science experiment we will learn the fun way about the ‘gyroscopic effect’ in flight:

Topics covered

Bernoulli’s principle, Lift, Gyroscopic effect, Perimeter

What will I need?

  • ALUMINIUM OR PAPER PLATE
  • MODELLING CLAY

Procedure (Method)

Unfortunately, this section is only available in the e-book version of the project.

How does it work?

Unfortunately, this section is only available in the e-book version of the project.

In this science experiment, the aluminium plate flies because when the plate is tossed and moves through the air, the air is forced over the top surface of the upside-down plate. This air increases the plate’s speed and decreases its pressure as a ‘low-pressure system’ is created at the top surface and ‘lift’ is created. The extra weights added by sticking the clay to the plate’s sides, makes for a more stable flight as it increases the plate’s stability while it spins.

The spin creates a ‘gyroscopic effect’ meaning that a rotating object has a more stable flight that an object that does not spin. The combination of the ‘lift’ created, together with the stability due to the ‘gyroscopic effect’, allows for the stable flight of your aluminium plate Frisbee.

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