Opti-Top

Marbles Rings

Put a new spin on color mixing! Using primary colors and the force of motion, you can design your very own optical illusion tops. Make it, test it, try again.

What You Need 

  • Chipboard (cereal box type material)
  • White paper
  • Markers
  • Scissors
  • Penny

What You Do 

  1. Trace a circle on your paper and chipboard using a cup or jar lid. Cut out both circles and ask a grown-up to help you cut a slit in the center of each long enough to fit the penny. 
  2. Color a design on the paper using two primary colors (red, yellow, blue). 
  3. Stack your design on the chipboard circle and press the penny into the slot through both layers.  
  4. Try twirling your top to see your design transform! 

Words to Use 

  • Primary color: One of the three colors, red, yellow, and blue, which you can mix together to make any of the other colors. 
  • Centrifugal Force: A force which makes things move away from the center of something when they are moving around it. 

Questions to Ask 

  • What happens to the design when you twirl the top?
  • How does it look different when its spinning? 
  • What do you think keeps the top balancing while it spins? 
  • How do you think it would change with different colors? A different design? 
  • What other things spin like a top? 

Change It Up 

  • Age It Down: Pre-cut the pieces and let your child color the paper. Tip – use the same top and switch out the paper designs.  
  • Age It Up: Explore the physics of how a spinning top works. Ask open-ended questions, then research the answers together. 

Learning Connections 

  • Curiosity 
  • STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) 
  • Visual-Spatial Thinking 
  • Fine Motor Development 
  • Using Tools 

Curriculum Connections 

  • Visual Arts K.V.1.1, K.V.1.4, K.V.1.5, K.V.3.1, K.V.3.3, 1.V.1.1, 1.V.1.4, 1.V.1.5, 1.V.3.1, 1.V.3.2, 1.V.3.3, 2.V.1.4, 2.V.1.5, 2.V.2.1, 2.V.3.1, 2.V.3.3, 3.V.1.4, 3.V.1.5, 3.V.3.3, 4.V.3.3, 5.V.1.4 
  • Math NCKG5, NC2G1, 3.V.1.4 
  • Science K.P.1.1, K.P.1.2, K.E.1.1, K.E.1.3, K.L.1.1, 1.P.1.1, 1.E.2.1, 3.P.1.1

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