Sunday, 20 May 2012

super spinners

On a relatively recent post-lunch stroll in sunny Spain, I happened to be looking down at the ground in order to avoid the various bumps and cracks in the path.  At one point though, after my feet had crunched noisily upon something, I immediately looked upwards.  And this is what I saw.


Can you guess what it was that I had crunched underfoot? 

Luckily my long-suffering husband has hands big enough and pockets deep enough so that we would eventually all be able to see what it was for ourselves.

Fast forward a few weeks and the contents of his pockets have been deposited for safety into a plastic sandwich box and driven for hundreds of kilometres so that we can all take a closer look.

I held one up for us to see.

‘It’s a seed,’ said Tanisha.  And indeed it is.  It’s the seed of a (Spanish) acacia tree.

Against the light of the window, we noticed that there was a thin, light, wing-like part where the light came through, as well as a darker, heavier part.  Emily suggested (quite correctly) that the dark part was the seed.  And the wing-like part? 

Time, I think for your own close-up view.   Perhaps you can do a careful sketch of what your seed looks like.

_MG_7328  IMG_7404  IMG_7406

And perhaps you can also find some words to describe it.

IMG_7402  IMG_7403  IMG_7405

Why do you think the seed has that wing attached?  To make it fly perhaps?

IMG_7407  IMG_7408  IMG_7409

And now, if I was to hold up my seed in the air and then let go?  What do you think would happen? 

Amid wildly flailing arms and in no little danger of having an eye put out, I decided that perhaps the best way for us all to find out would be actually to let one go.  Stand on your chair (but shh – don’t tell a soul!)…..


and let your seed go.  Watch (carefully) as it spirals its way round and round and down and down to the floor.  And wonder what it is that makes it spin so.

For you have a challenge.

A (heavy) paperclip for a seed needs (light) helicopter wings cut from paper to help it spiral its way to the ground. 

Let’s make the wings to start with.  A paper rectangle needs one…..




(just two, Melchior!) careful snips…..


that go almost - but not right (or you will end up with three separate bits of paper and that-will-not-do!) to the top of your rectangle.  Fold one wing forward and one backward.  And leave the middle bit dangling down.

Now - and herein lies the challenge! – fix the paperclip ‘seed’ somewhere on your wings.  Where do you think you should clip it to make it travel in a spiralling pathway?

Clip - and see!

Here maybe?




What about here?


And once you have decided the very best spot for fixing your paperclip…..


shall we nip outside and s-n-e-a-k up, up, up the fire escape – and let go from there?


And watch, ‘wheee’…..


as our helicopter ‘seeds’ fly round and round…..


and eventually down and down…..


to the ground.

Where, if they really were seeds, one or two just might land in a warm, sunny spot in the soil, and end up sprouting into a new one of these.


Well, eventually.

No comments:

Post a Comment