I had the chance to teach some elementary kids how to spin this morning!
I had premade some spindles (ooh, I thought this was very clever) with bamboo skewers and new (small, red) potatoes. I duct taped an opened-on-one-end paper clip to the top end of the skewer. I snipped off the bottom point so they wouldn’t jab themselves. For the first class I tried to have them start with the fiber and the spindles. Not so great. For the second class I had them stretch out (draft) the fiber to a skinnyish piece, hold one end down and twist the other end. Some of them just twisted it by hand and some put it on their thigh and rolled it. Then we plied that little piece back on itself and tied them on as wristbands. Some of the kids then hooked their fiber directly on the hook of the potato spindles and spindled another length of yarn. I explained about using the leader and wrapping the yarn below the potato if they were going to spin MORE than a yard of yarn. Then I showed them how the spindle (charkha, great wheel) worked the same way, but faster because of the mechanical advantage. Then I briefly showed them how the flyer wheel was even faster because it wound the yarn onto the bobbin automatically. And we dyed a little wool with kool aid and they were out of time. Whew!