Harlem Globetrotter visits D.C. physics teacher with spin skills

Teacher David Hovan and Harlem Globetrotter Handles Franklin show two students how to spin a ball. (WTOP/Megan Cloherty)

WASHINGTON – It’s a tough job for teachers to make science fun, so when a teacher at St. Johns College High School drew his kids attention by spinning a basketball on a pen — one of them took a video and shared it online.

Physics teacher David Hovan’s class on Thursday was far from average. For starters, it was full of cameras and reporters and there was the visit from Harlem Globetrotter Handles Franklin.

Last school year, a YouTube video of Hovan spinning a ball on top of a pen while he was writing went viral online.

“Any way you can make physics relevant to the real world and to them is a good thing for science and science education,” Hovan says.

He learned how to spin the ball on a pen from his high school English teacher, Hovan says. He has continued to practice and decided to incorporate it into his lessons.

“It just kind of occurred to me while I was teaching one day that I could do this,” Hovan says.

See the Harlem Globetrotter’s visit to Hovan’s class here:

“He’s a quirky teacher, Mr. Hovan,” says AP physics student and senior Hannah Hardy.

“He does these weird demonstrations with tennis balls or basketballs,” she says.

Hovan had always been a fan of the Harlem Globetrotters growing up in Crofton, Md., so the visit was exciting for him as a teacher and a fan, he says.

“It’s incredibly fun and exhilarating and I’m completely overwhelmed,” Hovan says.

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