This is a tough one to figure out but goes perfectly with my last experiment, the electric motor. And with this being said, I think I already might have given you an idea on how to explain this amazing physics toy.
You probably already know I have a passion for toys using scientific principles as working mechanisms. The drinking bird was just one of so many toys children could experiment with in the Science classroom. But this spinning top is a little different because it combines the process of scientific inquiry with content knowledge. Without opening the container under the spinning top it’s more a black-box-phenomenon than deepend confrontation with physical concepts. Nonetheless, it can be used to spark curiousity and as I’ve already explained, toys can be used to foster interest in scientific concepts.
Back to the spinning top. How does it even work? That’s the big question, isn’t it? I mean everyone knows that a spinning top only keeps on spinning eternally because we left reality and find ourselves in an inception. Jokes aside, this one is real. And it’s not because of some dream reality that it keeps on turning but because it behaves similar to an electric motor. Let’s take a look inside the container.
The spinning top has a neodymium magnet atached to the bottom of the plastic top. And when pushed to rotate over the container, it rotates right over the copper coil, which is attached to the battery and a transistor. The electromagnetic field of the spinning neodymium magnet will induce a magnetic field in the coil, eventually triggering power supply to the coil which then again repulses the spinning top and it goes on like this for as long as the battery works. Amazing, isn’t it?
And to show you it’s really not an inception but reality, I also made a video of what happens when the bottom of the container with the coil, the battery and the transistor are removed.
I hope you enjoyed this post and had some time to inquire the mechanism of this toy. Let me know how you would implement it if you were teaching Science!