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In this physics activity, learners build a toy with a figure that spins around like a gymnast on the high bar. Learners follow step-by-step instructions (with photos) to construct the toy made out of PVC pipes, a clothes peg, wood and other simple materials. When they squeeze the PVC pipes together at the bottom, the gymnast swings around. Use this activity to introduce learners to levers and simple machines. [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on]

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 2 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per student

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per student)

  • 30in PVC pipe, 1/2in diameter
  • 1 Clothes peg, old style one piece
  • 1 Straw
  • Wire, 16 ga. steel baling
  • 1 Wood piece, 1in x2in x3in
  • String, medium
  • Tape, masking & electrical
  • Hot glue
  • Decorations


  • Physical Sciences
    • Energy
      • Work and Machines
    • Motion and Forces
      • Machines
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations

Informal Categories

  • Arts and Crafts
  • Toys


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Watsonville Environmental Science Workshop


  • All rights reserved, Watsonville Environmental Science Workshop, 2011

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