We've fallen in love with the PhiTOP, and bet you will, too! This beautifully crafted top does for angular momentum what Newton's Cradle does for linear momentum. When spun, it starts out horizontal and then, surprisingly, stands upright. Wow! In the process, it illustrates the difference between equilibrium and stability. The rise of the "center of mass" is a fascinating physics problem. It will spin for minutes on end, producing a marvelous optical illusion as it slows down. Invented by astrophysicist Kenneth Brecher, the PhiTOP encourages exploration of force, mass, density, gravity, friction, and time. In short, the PhiTOP is an elegant scientific, mathematical, and aesthetically-pleasing object that makes a perfect gift, desktop display piece, or student stumper. See for yourself in our video! Egg is ~5 cm tall (2").
Bring a refrigerator magnet next to a PhiTOP that is made from a non-magnetic metal such as aluminum or brass while it is spinning and it will slow down and stop. This is a simple demonstration of the magnetic induction principle that underlies Nikola Tesla's famous 19th century Egg of Columbus demonstration that led directly to the acceptance of AC electricity over DC. The original 19th century apparatus employed a rotating 3-phase magnetic field configuration with no moving parts to spin up a copper egg shaped object.
This product will support your students' understanding of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)*, as shown in the table below.
Suggested Science Idea(s)
| Elementary || || Middle School || || High School |
| K-PS2-1 |
Students can use the PhiTOP in an investigation to compare the effects of different strengths or different directions of pushes and pulls on the motion of an object. 2-PS3-1
Students can use the PhiTOP in an investigation to describe and classify different kinds of materials by their observable properties. 3-PS3-1
Students can use the PhiTOP to plan and conduct an investigation to provide evidence of the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces on the motion of an object. 4-PS3-1
Students can use the PhiTOP in an investigation to gather evidence to construct an explanation relating the speed of an object to the energy of the object.
| || MS-PS2-2 |
Students can use the PhiTOP in an investigation to provide evidence that the change in an object's motion depends on the sum of the forces on the object and the mass of the object. MS-PS3-1
Students can use the PhiTOP as a concrete introduction and demonstration on mass and motion. Students can construct and interpret graphical displays of data to describe the relationships of kinetic energy to the mass of an object and to the speed of an object.
| || HS-PS2-2 |
Students can use the PhiTOP to demonstrate how mass and momentum affect motion. This can be transferred into a mathematical representation to support the claim that the total momentum of a system of an object is conserved when there is no net force on the system. HS-PS3-1
Students can use the PhiTOP as a physical model in conjunction with a computational model to calculate the change in the energy of one component in a system when there is a change in energy of the other components.
The PhiTOP encourages exploration of force, mass, density, gravity, friction, and time. When spun, it starts out horizontal and then stands upright. In the process, it illustrates the difference between equilibrium and stability. 2-PS3-1
Younger students can use the PhiTOP for a compare-and-contrast investigation using a variety of textured materials to spin the orb on.
* NGSS is a registered trademark of Achieve. Neither Achieve nor the lead states and partners that developed the Next Generation Science Standards were involved in the production of, and do not endorse, this product.