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Ice Skating by Eliot and Rhiana

We're good friends and our favorite activity is figure skating. Even though we've been competing for years, our heads still get jumbled during spins. So, we wanted to figure out what makes us the most dizzy: How we hold our heads when we spin or where we look?

What did we do?
When we're really dizzy after a spin, we noticed that our eyes bounce back and forth for a while. So we decided to record our eye jiggles on a video camera. We did three spins with our head up, forward and down. For each test, we tried to spin for the same length of time. Then we did them all again blindfolded. We played back the video and watched the timer to see how long the jiggles lasted. We wrote down that time for each test, took an average and then made a chart.

What did we find out?
Our tests showed us that head down is definitely not the way to spin and that keeping our eyes open helps a lot. We felt the least dizzy with our eyes open and head up. We did some extra research and found out that part of being dizzy comes from the information the inner ear sends to the brain. Our brains need information from our ears AND our eyes to make sense of the all the mixed signals it gets when we spin around and around and around.

What can you do?
  • Twirl around in one place and try Rhiana and Eliot's spinning tests in your backyard. Have a friend videotape your spins and see if your results match DragonflyTV's. If not, why?
  • Eliot and Rhiana found out that where you look makes a difference in how dizzy you get. Does what you listen to make a difference too? Try their experiment while wearing earplugs or listening to music on headphones while you spin. Is there a difference?
  • Does practice make perfect? If you're a dancer, gymnast or athlete that spins, do you get less dizzy now than when you started? Can your brain actually get used to spinning?
  • Use this ice skating investigation as a science fair project idea for your elementary or middle school science fair! Then tell us about it!
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