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1 Workshop #187 PHY Workshop #367 PHY Prep. Before Class Get # of Straw Rocket kits needed for class, teacher demo box, and teacher prep box. Set up teacher table with activity materials, and extras. Set up fishing lines for balloon rockets. You will need a place to tie the lines. You will what at least 6 race courses. Pass out Rocket Construction sheets. Setup Pitsco Straw Rocket Launcher Make sure the extension cord to the compressor is plugged into the GFI outlet. Objectives To launch a rocket as high and far as possible Concepts The students will be able to identify Newton s Laws of Motion: Objects at rest will stay at rest and objects in motion will stay in motion in a straight line unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. Force is equal to mass times acceleration (fourth grade and up). For every action there is always an opposite and equal reaction. Common Cores State Mathematics Standards Measure, represent, and interpret data (grades 1 5) California State Science Standards 2 nd Grade: Physical Science 1. The motion of objects can be observed and measured. As a basis for understanding this concept: a. Students know the position of an object can be described by locating it in relation to another object or to the background. b. Students know an object's motion can be described by recording the change in position of the object over time. c. Students know the way to change how something is moving is by giving it a push or a pull. The size of the change is related to the strength, or the amount of force, of the push or pull. d. Students know tools and machines are used to apply pushes and pulls (forces) to make things move. e. Students know objects fall to the ground unless something holds them up. 2 nd Grade: Investigation and Experimentation 4. Scientific progress is made by asking meaningful questions and conducting careful investigations. As a basis for understanding this concept and addressing the content in the other three strands, students should develop their own questions and perform investigations. Students will: 1 Copyright 2003, A Schmahl Science Workshop

3 Teacher Background Projectile motion is a scientific principle that almost everyone has witnessed. However, you may not have realized it at the time. For instance, simple tasks such as the throwing of a baseball involve the unique properties and dimensions of projectile motion. If you were to throw a baseball from left field to home plate, how would you do it? What angle would you release the ball at? What path does the ball follow? Our knowledge of the underlying physics principles tells us that a projectile will follow the path of a perfect parabola based on two assumptions: acceleration due to gravity is constant over the full range of the projectile, and is pulling in the direction of the earth's center (straight down for our purposes); and secondly, air resistance is negligible. As in any scientific research, our theory does not always coincide with actual practice. The rockets have more variables to encounter, as they are not going to be launched in a vacuum. Drag and air resistance play a large part in the shape and design of the rocket's fins and general aerodynamics. The wind's velocity and direction also have a large influence on the flight path of the rockets. Why do straw rockets fly? The air pressure propels the rocket skyward. Getting Connected: What do the Students Know? Ask Students: What are the forces in play with rockets? How do the fins help the rocket fly? What is the purpose of the nose cone? Is the shape of the rocket important? Sharing the Wealth of Knowledge The Big Idea Newton's Laws Tell Students: Launching something as large as the space shuttle is a complex project. But scientists can send this huge vehicle into orbit partly because they understand the natural laws that describe how objects move. Scientists discovered these laws years ago. Yet the laws are still fundamental to every rocket launch, even the soda straw rocket that you will launch in this lab. The same law that states how hitting a tennis ball makes it go faster also tells how rockets are launched. This law is Newton's third law of motion. 'Newton's third law of motion' states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Newton's third law also applies to rockets. A rocket gets its lift from the gases pushing out of its tail. The force of the rocket pushing on these gases is the action force. The gases exert an equal but opposite force on the rocket, which forces the rocket up, this is called the reaction force. Copyright 2003, A Schmahl Science Workshop 3

4 The rocket gases do not have to push against anything, such as the ground. The reaction force exists even in outer space, even if there is no air for the gasses to act on. When astronauts need to change a rocket's path slightly, they rely on the action of gases. A rocket expels gas in one direction creating a reaction force that pushes the rocket in the opposite direction. The rocket accelerates. Making it Happen Activity 1: Soda Straw Rocket Design Challenge Materials Soda Straws from Pitsco Pitsco Straw Rocket Launcher Clay Manila folders or index cards for making fins Tape Scissors Procedures: Students construct small, lightweight rockets from straws (body tube), index cards (fins), and a small amount of modeling clay (nose cone). The rockets are launched using the Pitsco Straw Rocket Launcher at a 45 angle. Give students the opportunity to evaluate possible variables that could affect the flight pattern of a rocket. They may come up with examples such as: angle of launch, #of fins, length of the tube, weighted with paper clips, etc. This exercise helps to build your students to participation in a full inquiry model. If time permits, give them the opportunity to explore some of these different variables and report results out to the class. Wrapping It Up: What did the students Learn? Ask Students: Does the shape of the fins or nose cone affect the data? Why did the air go one way and the rocket the other? There is an equal force in both directions. This can be explained by Newton's third law of motion: For every action there is an equal but opposite reaction. What do the students predict would happen to the distance a rocket will travel if changes were made to the cone? More Questions to consider: How high does it fly? Do fins help keep the rocket stable? Could a parachute help keep it aloft? How might a parachute work? Copyright 2003, A Schmahl Science Workshop 4

5 Cleanup Have children dump trash in white buckets. Have children replace nontrash items into kits. Copyright 2003, A Schmahl Science Workshop 5

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