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Dancing Jitterbug   -   these activities are good with pupils working together in pairs


Basic Dancing Jitterbug

Suitable for years 2 – 8. Taking about 1 – 2 hours

Starting with a kit of parts, pupils build a jitterbug using simple tools.  Once built and switched on the out-of-balance motor produces vibrations, which travel down the flexible legs and cause the jitterbug to move in an unpredictable manner.

Switched on Jitterbug


Suitable for years 3 – 9. Taking about 1 ½  – 2 hours

As an extension to Dancing Jitterbugs, pupils make a switch from basic materials, paper and foil, to turn the motor on and off.

Super Jitterbug


Suitable for years 5 – 9.  Taking about 2 – 2 ½ hours

An extension to the Dancing Jitterbugs with a LED and buzzer whose actions are controlled by a two-way switch (dpdt). 

Another switch (pole) controls the motor.              


Jitterbug activities address the following curriculum topics:


Design & Technology

  • Try out tools and techniques
  • Assemble and combine components
  • Design and make images and artefacts
  • Work as a team and follow planning
  • Review what they and others have done
  • Identify what they might change to make it better
  • Carry out tests before making improvements
  • Recognise that the quality of a product depends on how well it is made
  • How mechanism can be used to make things move in different ways


  • Cells (batteries) giving electrical energy
  • Conductors carry electricity
  • Metals are conductors
  • Non-metals are insulators
  • Vibrations produce movement and sound
  • Electricity flows in a particular direction
  • The direction of the electric current decides which way an electric motor turns
  • A wheel mounted eccentrically causes vibration
  • The super Jitterbug also explores polarity in components