A technoscientific art project for the creative laboratory

If you have a school-aged child, you've probably seen them put Beyblade tops against each other in an arena. It was while watching my eight-year-old building his own prototypes of launcher and spinning tops using Lego blocks that I came up with the idea of proposing a similar project to my 4th grade colleagues.

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If you have a school-aged child, you've probably seen them put spinning tops against each other. Beyblade in an arena. It's watching my eight year old build their own prototype launcher and spinning tops using blocks Lego I came up with the idea of proposing a similar project to my 4th year colleagues.

Next April will take place a scientific vernissage at our school (Fernand-Seguin of the Montreal CS). During this event, our environment will turn into a museum in which parents and students will stroll to discover the projects of our young scientists. This year, each project must be related to the fields of arts, science and technology. In this sense, the students of the fourth year will produce abstract works using a spinning top. This toy dating from High Antiquity has always fascinated young and old alike with its ability to describe fascinating movements.

Lately, as part of the CAPI, the fourth-year teachers attended a training course aimed at introducing them to the use of 3D modeling software TINKERCAD. In addition, during this meeting, they were able to experience each of the stages of the project and, at the same time, help me to make the last corrections. Here are, in detail, all the stages of our technoscientific art project that you can also experience with your group of students if, of course, you have a 3D printer.

Step 1: Modeling the spinning topTinkercad software help

A few days ago, the students came to the computer lab to design their spinning top using Tinkercad software. They had to follow the plan illustrated below to the letter.

While making sure to respect the concept of symmetry, they had the opportunity to bring a personal touch to their creation. Some students even added an opening at the base of the router to insert a pencil lead.

Step 2: Launcher design

While the 3D models were sent to print, the students, along with the science resource teacher, sawed, nailed, drilled and glued to build their own launcher. Three masterpieces (cupola, tree, cylinder), printed beforehand, were given to them so that they could insert them inside their construction.

Maude, the science resource teacher, took the opportunity to explain the principles of inertia, friction, gravity and, more specifically, the gyroscopic effect, i.e. the phenomenon of conservation of the axis of rotation of a rotating object.

In this sense, did you know that Félix Christian Klein, German mathematician of the 19e century, was interested in establishing relationships between pure mathematics and mechanics by writing mathematical formulas relating to the movements of a spinning top?

Step 3: The realization of the abstract work

Over the next few weeks, grade four teachers will take the opportunity to discuss abstract art with their students by exploring, among other things, the works of Kandinsky and Jean-Paul Riopelle. They will then be presented with an artistic creation workshop. Like these famous painters, the students will be called upon to produce an abstract work using the random movements of their tops. Those equipped with a pencil lead will be propelled first on a sheet of white paper in order to trace spiral trajectories. Subsequently, small drops of multicolored paint will be deposited on the work surface. Gathered in teams, the students will simultaneously throw their spinning tops in order to continue the creation of their abstract work.

At the end of April, it will be the big unveiling of these works of art. For the occasion, the members of the school community will discover them exclusively and will be able to experiment, in turn, the tools and the processes used during their realization. To be continued!  

In addition, Carrefour education offers you a resource to get started with Tinkercad in the classroom.

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About the Author

Guillaume Bilodeau
Guillaume Bilodeau
Guillaume is an ICT pedagogical advisor at the Montreal School Services Center (CSSDM). He has a bachelor's degree in preschool and elementary education from UQÀM and a bachelor's degree in secondary mathematics education from UQÀC. In addition, he is completing his DESS in educational management. As part of his graduate studies, he is more specifically interested in the establishment of learning communities in Quebec schools.

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