Website of the Week: Holy Levitating Slinky! (Gr. 6-12)

Holy Levitating Slinky – Is it science or an optical illusion?

In a recent post from Kottke blog, a video shows several instances of a fully-extended slinky, suspended in the air, and being let go from above. In slow motion, we see the top of the slinky rushing downward as the bottom of the slinky appears to remain motionless, hovering in space until the two ends finally meet.

How does it work? Is this an illusion or is there a scientific explanation behind this phenomenon? Well, there is a scientific reason for this effect, and included in the video is an attempt to explain it. You can also refer to an article from Wired Magazine for a more detailed explanation.


  • What are some other scientific “mysteries” that students could investigate? Using video editing programs like iMovie, students can attempt to slow down the footage in order to try and better understand the effects going on during a similar event.

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