Saturday, January 17, 2015

Blasting Off! Balloon Rockets!

Time for a popular feature on this little old blog....
what?
Friends, do you know how long it has been since I blogged with the title
"What's Going on in the Lab?"
Since APRIL.
APRIL.
Well, it's not like I don't write about what is going on the lab. I do. All the time.
But I do plan to make this a regular feature!
Maybe even a weekly, or bi-weekly, or monthly linky party!
 More about that later.

First a cute button:


So, this past week I had my fourth graders making BALLOON ROCKETS!

Mind you, I knew they would love this. When you ask kids what they want to do in science they always say the same things:
I want to make something explode.
I want to make something blow up.
I want to do rockets,
Or roller coasters.

So, this week it was rockets, with balloons as the power to launch them into the air.

The premise was fairly easy, the supplies were super easy, and the plan behind this was simple.
Did it work that way?
NOPE!

First of all, the kids had to launch the rockets vertically, cause that is the way rockets go after all.

I hung strings in the lab from the bottom of the dome for this. Kids had to attach the rockets to a straw threaded with the string and then let the filled balloon go.
They had some great ideas:
STEM Challenge: Students use balloon to power their vertical rockets. The rockets are propelled along a string and must resemble a rocket!
This group made a roly-poly out of tape and threaded the string through it. The force of the balloon blasting off ripped the tape off.
STEM Challenge: Students use balloon to power their vertical rockets. The rockets are propelled along a string and must resemble a rocket!
This group made a cap for the balloon. They used one of the supplies and cut it into strips and attached it to the string. The balloon was placed under the little cap and they thought it would just stay under the cap and ride up the string track. Well, it didn't. The balloon took off across the room.....
STEM Challenge: Students use balloon to power their vertical rockets. The rockets are propelled along a string and must resemble a rocket!
This group made a sleeve for the balloon and I really thought this would work. They had so much trouble blowing the balloon up between trials they had to invent a way to do it easier. See, the second balloon attached to a straw attached to the first balloon. Goodness, I am not totally sure what they were thinking, but I can tell you they scrapped the whole idea and started over.
STEM Challenge: Students use balloon to power their vertical rockets. The rockets are propelled along a string and must resemble a rocket!
This one was my absolute favorite. The boys wanted their rocket to actually look like a rocket. Then the balloon would not fit inside it. So they tried taping the balloons to the outside. They really wanted exhaust pipes so they inserted straws into the balloons to blow up the balloons and that did work. However, the balloons leaked air and they never could get their rocket off the ground.

Seems like total failures all around, right?

Well, not really. We had as many successful launches as failed launches. We experimented with different sizes of balloons as one class thought their large balloons were too heavy and created failure. We decided the paper and card stock used did make the rockets too heavy. The creative models I saw were really amazing, but in the end the simple balloons attached to a straw were the most successful. 

This is a really neat little STEM Challenge- didn't cost much! The kids loved it. I loved it!
In fact, in one class when I announced what our challenge for the day was going to be, I had a boy exclaim, "Oh wow, Mrs. Davis, this is on my bucket list!"

Now, you just can't beat that!
So, what have you been up to in your Science class?

5 comments :

  1. How much fun, even if it didn't go exactly as planned....but in science (or anything else we teach) when does it really go perfectly right?!? I would SOOO participate in a science linky. You can bet I will show up for anything Science! Also I am planning on doing the Marshmellow and Blow Tubes lab sometime this week. I cannot wait to let you know how it goes!

    ~Bagby~
    Get Your Science On In Room 701

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    1. Have fun with the MM Blow tubes. The kids certainly will. Mine wanted to just blow the MM and really didn't care about keeping the data- but they were third grades. In the end I think they did get the science part of it. They also had a blast!

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  2. Ok, if I had a science class I would totally link up...lol. That button is too cute. What a great week you had. I wish you had been my science teacher as a kid....just super fun. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

    ~Laura
    Luv My Kinders

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  3. Balloons have been outlawed in our district...latex allergies...as well as treats that taste good, all nuts...I love balloons! Great activity though...I wish...

    Renee from The Science School Yard

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    Replies
    1. I love this challenge, but I do not always like balloons. Kids want to blow them up all the time and they get filled with spit! YUCK!

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