When I started doing magic tricks as a kid, I remember always bothering my sister and brother to watch my latest trick. When they grew tired of my tricks, I switched to grandparents, aunts, uncles… finally anyone who would watch. Thirty some years later, I find myself in the same situation as I’m testing out new ways to present some cool science experiment. Years ago, I hit the jackpot when would wait for the FedEx driver to show up. A question like, “Hey, do you want to see something cool?” is almost always met with, “Sure… what is it?” Over the years I’ve persuaded visitors to our shipping dock to stand inside of a bubble, lay on a bed of nails, walk on top of a vat of cornstarch and water, but this is maybe the best one yet.
Listen to the very last thing Emily says… “UPS guy won’t do it!”
Denise Plante and Murphy Huston from the KOSI Morning Show in Denver, Colorado invited me to visit their show to talk about our upcoming book signing for Naked Eggs and Flying Potatoes. Finding science demonstrations that play well on the radio can be tough, but we hit a home run with this one. I purposely didn’t tell Denise what was going to happen until I uncovered the big container of broken glass. Take a look at what happened…
I helped the fourth graders at Wilder Elementary test their rocket designs today. Watch the video below from last year to see what this interactive lesson is all about.
Earlier in the week, the students watched the movie October Sky, based on Homer Hickam’s novel, Rocket Boys. I then explained the science behind building rockets and gave them some demonstrations of Newton’s Laws.
Then the young engineers took over. Their homework assignment – build your own rocket.
Using an air-powered PVC launcher, students placed their homemade rocket on the launch pad and began the countdown. After they watched their rocket launch, the students had the opportunity to go back into the classroom and modify and improve upon their design before another launch attempt.
This project inspires students to work hard to see their dreams come true and to introduce and reinforce skills and concepts in some very creative ways.
The lesson is from the U.S. Space Camp and Space Academy for Educators in an effort to bring the exploration of space and rocketry into a wide variety of classrooms.
Have you signed up for your school’s science fair but haven’t picked a science fair project? Or are you thinking about joining your science fair but don’t know where to start?
Participating in the science fair is an amazing opportunity to learn about the scientific method, ask questions, explore, make new discoveries and gain an understanding of how science works.
The start to a great science fair project is asking questions. Performing an experiment is not a science fair project.
To find a science fair project, browse through the experiment library and start asking questions like “why does it work that way,” “what if I did it this way?”
For example, dropping Mentos into Diet Coke is not a science fair project. It’s a science demonstration. Asking questions like “what temperature of Diet Coke will make the tallest geyser,” or “what soda makes the shortest geyser?” are good science fair projects.
The Tea Bag Rocket is really an adaptation of a classic science demonstration called the Ditto Paper Rocket. If you’re old enough to have experienced Ditto paper, you’ll recall the bluish-purple ink and that unforgettable smell of freshly printed copies. (Come to find out… both the Ditto machine solvent and the ink were highly toxic, but no one seemed to care back then.) Each piece of Ditto paper had a sheet of tissue paper that separated the two-part form, and it was this discarded piece of paper that kids used to make the “rocket.” Since Ditto paper is a thing of the past, science teachers found a simple replacement – a tea bag.