Energy systems

Fantastic Elastic

9 Redesign and Decorate Wind-Ups


The teacher displays several different types of wind-ups, each decorated. Students try different ways to decorate wind-ups that roll and wind-ups that spin in the air.

Advance Preparation

Construct and decorate different types of windups, Click on the links below to see how hey are made.


  • Materials for wind-ups including different size paper plates, rubber bands, sticks and cylinders, and heavy washers for weights.
  • Decorating materials: crayons, paints, markers, colored and plain paper, magazines for pictures, tissue paper, cellophane, google eyes, feathers, yarn, felt, foam stickers, craft sticks, ribbon, pipe cleaner, cocktail umbrella, tape, glue and scissors.


  1. Class meeting:
    Demonstrate wind-ups decorated in different ways, including wind-ups that spin in the air around a vertical axis.

    • Decorating Wind-ups: Discuss how students might decorate a strip of paper and wrap it around the wind-up. Show the range of decorating materials you will make available.
    • Redesigning Wind-ups: Discuss how students may wish to redesign their wind-ups to allow them to decorate them as they wish. This might include using larger paper plates as wheels and making the cylinder that separates the two plates much bigger so there is more surface to decorate.
    • They may wish to refine their wind-ups to make them go further, or faster, climb hills better, or behave in other ways.

  2. Students Redesign and Decorate:
    Students are to record their plans in their Science Notebook, as well as the issues they encounter and how they solve them. Talk with individual students about what they want to do and how they are thinking of doing it. Check that they are using their Science Notebooks to record their thinking.

  3. Class Meeting:
    Briefly let students share their ideas and the issues they are resolving, then store the wind-ups for completion in the next period.

  4. Outcomes:

    • Students begin making the wind-up that will be used as the basis for their “How-to” book in Lesson 11, and for their presentation in Lesson 12.
    • Student creativity and ingenuity are developed.