Today, as part of our Mission to Mars topic, we made rockets!
Working in teams of 4, each tied a string taught between the fences (you could easily use chairs - I just love being outside!), with a straw threaded on. Using a balloon pump, they then put 20 pumps of air into a balloon and taped it to the straw with duck tape, keeping hold of the end.
The for the best bit...let it go! The children then measured the stopping distance. We tried to time them so we could work out the speed, but unfortunately our timers don't have hundredths of a second so weren't accurate enough.
We talked about the forces at work. To help our 'space shuttle' to land safely, we needed to add a parachute brake to slow it down a little. The children used their understanding of forces to design a parachute to slow down the shuttle. At this stage, it was useful to talk about air resistance, rather than simply weighting it down.
We repeated our test, evaluated and made some improvements and repeated it a final time. Each time, the measured the stopping distance.
We could use this to calculate how successful the parachutes were.
I loved this activity! As well as being part of our Topic, we used our teamwork and Maths skills, too. The children learnt a lot about Science and it was interesting to address air resistance when the parachutes had to work horizontally.
Hi! I'm Mrs P: passionate primary school teacher!