Force and motion


12. The Twister


This lesson introcudes an intriguing type of pop-up. We call it “The Twister” because it seems to be twisting and turning in so many directions at once. Robert Sabuda uses this construction often in his books, such as *Narnia, **Cookie Count, *and *Butterflies. *Using the Twister, and other techniques learned during the unit, students then make and display their own final pop-up designs.


For the class:

  • Pop-up books that use the “Twister,” if available
  • Materials for displaying pop-ups, such as poster boards

For each student:

  • Scissors
  • tape
  • rulers
  • ballpoint pen
  • Post-itâ„¢
  • Twister Template
  • Science notebook


  1. Make a Twister. Show students how to use the Template to assemble a Twister.

  2. What the Twister can do. Ask students to make as many observations as they can about what happens when you open and close a Twister. How many different surfaces are moving? How many surfaces are there that you could attach things to? What is the path of each surface as the book opens and closes? Robert Sabuda uses Twisters often, for example in the small pop-up called “The Birth of Narnia” on the 2nd page of The Chronicles of Narnia. Students can look for twisters in his books, to see how they are made and what they are used to do.
    See a video and diagram illustrating the motions that the Twister can make.
    Outcome: There are eight surfaces, and each one moves in a different way from the others.

  3. How the Twister works. Encourage students to explore the construction of the Twister. What kinds of pop-ups does it use (angle or parallel-folds)? How are they connected (series or parallel?) What shapes can you find between the triangles and the parallelogram as the book opens and closes?
    See a video and system diagram showing how the Twister works.
    Outcomes: The Twister is based on the Monster. The shape between the Monster and the the bridge forms a rhombus as the book opens and closes. When the book is half open, it makes a square. The bridge is a parallel-fold controlled by the two angle-folds.

  4. Finished pop-ups and final presentations. Student use what they have learned in the entire unit to design and make their final pop-up designs, for presentation to parents, other students and visitors.
    See a photo of a Twister made by a fifth grader, showing two swans kissing.
    See a video showing how to make professional-looking pop-ups.


The Twister Template

twister template.doc


Two common problem that arise in making a Twister are…