Fascinating Science Toys


Fascinating Science Toys are a selection of science toys that can be used to explain different scientific principles. Professor Iain Dupère uses the Rattleback, Vortex Valve and Tippee Toppee with his engineering university students. We will include Prof Dupère’s explanation and some extension ideas with this set of toys.

A Rattleback is a semi elliptical object that spins on its axis in one preferred direction due to an offset centre of gravity. If spun in the opposite direction it will rock from instability, stop and then reverse direction. Tapping one end of the rattleback will also cause it to spin in the preferred direction.  The rattleback must be spun whilst resting on the curved face, not the flat face. Age 6 years – adult. One supplied from a variety of colours.

The vortex valve by Science & Nature is designed to demonstrate how a tornado swirls. The vortex valve connects two large soft drink bottles. When one is half filled with water, with a flick of the wrist a tornado in a bottle is created. Scientific fun. Add glitter or food colouring to create an amazing effect. Age 3 years – adult. One of a variety of colours supplied.

Tippee Toppee by Bigjigs is a wooden spinning top. These tops even spin upside down! The spinning tops start spinning on the large base and then flip themselves over onto the spindle/handle. Made from high quality, responsibly sourced materials. One tippee toppee supplied. Age 3 years – adult.

Create spinning artistic light shows with Light Show Spinner by Funtime. Take hold of the two handles and pull apart the elastic and the disc will begin to spin. The faster the disc spins the more mesmerising the light show will be. Light Show Spinners by Funtime can be used to demonstrate Newton’s Second Law applied to rotating objects. Requires 3 x AG13 batteries (included). Age 8 years – adult.

Further Information

Additional Information


Foundation, Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4, Tertiary


experimenting & discovering, fine motor, knowledge building, visual


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