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Build Future-Ready Skills With a Free Math Project!

Engage and inspire your students while building math and future-ready skills with Spin Factory, a free FutureFit project from TeacherVision.

Spin Factory

Spin Factory helps you use students’ interest (or should we say "obsession"?) with fidget spinners to teach measurement and conversion—all while developing FutureFit skills like idea generation, data synthesis, and entrepreneurial drive.

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“In this lesson, students are entrepreneurs out to corner the market on fidget devices by combining two things all kids love: Legos and money,” explains TeacherVision Senior Content Editor Stephen Solomon. “They do market research, design prototypes, develop POS (point of sale) messaging, and learn how to price their products.”

Teacher Stephanie Morris developed the Spin Factory lesson. She says the project-based lesson, designed for fourth-grade students, challenges them to create, build, market, and sell their own fidget spinner.

Along the way, students develop math skills such as measuring, converting measurements from metric to imperial as well as converting different units including time, distance and currency.

Of course, as a FutureFit lesson, students also gain important future-ready skills such as entrepreneurship, idea generation, and data synthesis.

As Morris explains, students learn entrepreneurship through creating their own fidget spinner from Legos and then marketing that product internationally.

“They’re surveying family members and friends to come up with a prototype that fits what people are looking for. Then, they market it and get reviews on it,” explains Morris. “It gives them the idea that maybe someday they could really invent something and sell it. Kind of a neat idea for a little kid!”

Students practice idea generation by creating a fidget spinner that has the qualities customers want. “They are going to websites and looking at different ideas for fidget spinners online. There are lots of different examples of how to do it with Legos but they’re going to tweak those ideas and build their own prototype.”

Morris also incorporated data synthesis skills into the lesson by asking students create a fictional Amazon product page to market and sell their fidget spinner. Just like a real Amazon product page, students include US and international dimensions and costs. “All those conversions that we’re doing between U.S. customary and the metric system and from the U.S. dollar to pesos or Euros, we’re converting all that data which is data synthesis."

“It’s inspirational to see little kids that have really great ideas, this could spur them to have a great invention. They also see, ‘There are things that I’m learning in school that I can really apply to my life.’”

In addition to reinforcing both math and FutureFit skills, Morris says Spin Factory also inspires students and helps them see how the things they learn in school can apply to their life. That’s why she chose to open the lesson with a video about Alina Morse, a student entrepreneur who developed Zollipops, an all-natural, sugar-free lollipop that cleans your teeth.

“It’s inspirational to see little kids that have really great ideas, this could spur them to have a great invention. They also see, ‘There are things that I’m learning in school that I can really apply to my life.’”

Download Spin Factory now (it's free!) and engage your students in math while building essential 21st-century skills.

You can also sign up for a TeacherVision account and access all of our FutureFit content, which has been specifically designed to make it easy to incorporate social-emotional learning and future-ready skills into lessons.

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Want to read more from this author? Check out Wendy's posts on the benefits of FutureFit, Genius Hour, and her suggestions for your summer reading list.
Author Bio:

Wendy McMahon is an education technology writer who has been working and writing in the edtech field for more than 15 years. She currently writes for EdSurge, EdTech Magazine and Pearson. She holds a Journalism Degree from the University of King’s College. Follow her on Twitter at @wendymcmahon.

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