spinpennylisaheaton.JPGWhat does a penny, a balloon and some spinning action have to do with learning how to become a rocket scientist? Mrs. Heaton’s 5th grade Gifted and Talented class is currently reading the book October Sky by Homer Hickam Jr. But they’re not just reading about building rockets… they’re learning the science behind the blast. Okay, judging from the laughs and screams coming from the classroom, the fun factor behind the learning must be high. The students explored Netwon’s First Law by learning how to whip a tablecloth out from under dishes. They also learned Mrs. Heaton’s First Law of Parenting which reads… Don’t try this at home – try it at a friend’s home. They also learned about Newton’s Third Law using a penny, a balloon and some spinning action. (Okay, this one is safe to try at home)

As part of their homework, the students posted their first blog entry in the comments section. Click on comments below…

29 replies
  1. Steven
    Steven says:

    The penny trick very cool! We used sentripital force. The definition is the tendancy of an object to stay in motion until a force acts upon it. It was very cool. The penny spun and spun and spu- you get it but it was weird and cool all at the same time. I am surprised at how long it could spin. The weird part was that it did drop but then it would sometimes get stuck. It was like a planet going around the sun or the moon going around the earth. I was wowed by this experiment.

    We also did an experiment with rocket balloons…we blew them up. Not actually make them explode but with air we blew them up. But that’s another story…

    Reply
  2. Brooke
    Brooke says:

    This penny in the balloon trick was very easy. The great scientist Steve Spangler showed us how to do it. You take a penny and stick it inside the balloon. Then blow the balloon up (not really explode the balloon, but blow the balloon up with your mouth. Though sometimes we have blown a few things up and it our teacher Mrs. Heaton and guest scientist Steve Spangler showed us how!)and spin the balloon in a circular motion. The centripetal force causes the penny to keep spinning around the balloon in a the same direction. According to Newton’s 1st Law, it will stay in motion until a force acts upon it. As simple as it sounds the penny will not keep spinning for even up to 30 seconds without spinning your hand in a circular motion.

    Reply
  3. Paul
    Paul says:

    The penny and ballon experiment is an easy one but so much fun. First, we put the penny in the balloon and blew the balloon. Next, we blew up the balloon and tied it.(Not exploding it) Finally, we spun the balloon is a circular motion and let the penny go around and around and around until it stopped. This represents Newton’s 1st law part 2 (An object tendency to stay in motion untill a force acts upo it)becaue the penny was being moved the centipacal force (Yes, it is with a ‘p’. Everyone says it wrong.)and being stoped by gravity. We also did a fun experiment with a rocket ballon.

    Reply
  4. Jack
    Jack says:

    Today in class we put a penny in a balloon. We would spin the balloon and the penny would move around the inner side of the balloon. Centripetal force is where the tendency for an object to keep moving until a force acts apon it. The penny would move like the planet moving around the sun. We also a few balloons exploded because the edge of the penny would catch a edge an d it would pop.Also a experiment was where you would do the same thing as the penny but with a hex nut. It made a weird noise and everyone loved it.
    PS: we also did an experiment with rocket balloon where we learned about Newton’s third law. It was a whole lot of fun.

    Reply
  5. Stefan
    Stefan says:

    This was so cool! Steve Spangler came to our class and did an experiment with us! We put a penny in a balloon, blew it up, (with our mouths, that is! But we do blow stuff up in class!) and spun the balloon. The penny began to spin inside the balloon! This was because of centripetal force. The penny was being pulled into the center, making it spin around the edges of the balloon. However, the gravity eventually pulled the penny down, making it stop spinning. This experiment was an example of Newton’s Third Law. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. You should try this too. It’s perfectly safe and it’s fun and addicting. We also launched rocket balloons with Steve in a very small room! They were everywhere!

    Reply
  6. Haley
    Haley says:

    Steve’s expeiriments are so interesting! Today we did the “Penny in a balloon” expeiriment. This taught us the 2nd part of Isaac (Wayne) Newton’s 1st law. We put a penny in a see through ballon and blew it up, (I mean we didn’t make it explode , we inflated it.) Using the law, “an object will stay in motion until a force acts upon it” We spun the penny around in the balloon. It was so cool! At my sister’s next birthday party I’m going to do this expeiriment again. The penny spun around for about 30 seconds, until the force of gravity made it stop. Everybody kept doing this expeiriment over and over again (many balloons popped.) After that was done, we blew up (inflated) rocket ballons for the whole class. We learned about (Wayne’s) Newton’s 3rd law, ” For every action there is and equal and oppisate reaction.” We tested this out by going up to our school nurse and let the balloons go!

    Reply
  7. Brooke R.
    Brooke R. says:

    When we put a penny in a balloon and spun it around the penny spun and kept spinning when we stoped shaking the balloon. This is a very easy expirament. All you do is put a penny in a balloon, blow up the balloon (don’t make it explode just blow into the opening!) and shake the balloon back and forth. When you shake the balloon the penny should spin around and when you stop it should keep on spinning. But it does not spin forever. An object has a tendancy to stay in motion until a force acts upon it. that is Newton’s third law. Oh yeah we also went into our nurses office and let noisy balloons go. For every action there is a reaction.

    Reply
  8. Brad
    Brad says:

    Today the students in our class learned about centripetal force. We blew up balloons and slipped a penny into them and then we spun the balloon in a circular motion until the penny started spinning around the inside of the balloon on it’s edge. Also, we learned about Newton’s third law. After we did that Mrs. Heaton ans Steve blew up rocket balloons and we walked down to the nurse’s office and Steve said that we were learning about balloon animals and then, after he said that we let them go and the balloons were flying everywhere around the room, I never thought that I would have so much fun in school

    Reply
  9. jack H.
    jack H. says:

    Today the students in our class learned about centripetal force by doing an experiment where they put a penny inside a balloon and shook it so that it spun around the outside of the balloon always being pulled into the middle. The students in our class also learned about Isaac Newton’s second part of his first law that is the tendency of an object to stay in motion until a force acts upon it. They demonstrated this by filling rocket ballons with air then letting them go to fly wildly through the air.
    Finally we leaqrned about Isaac newton’s third law where for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

    Reply
  10. Renae
    Renae says:

    The penny experiment is really fun. It taught our class Newton’s 3rd law.Our class put a penny in a baloon and then blew up the baloon with air to a size of about your head. When the baloon was at the right size you would tie the baloon and start to spin it with your and around it. The penny would stay in movement until a force acts upon it. For every action there is an equal and an opposite reaction. That is the air of the baloon pushing out and the inside air pulling in. This is also a very easy experiment.

    Reply
  11. Hannah
    Hannah says:

    The penny trick is easy and fun. This experiment taught us Newton’s 3rd law. The 3rd law is with every reaction theres an equal and opposite reaction. Put the penny in the the balloon and blow the balloon up(with your mouth) to about the size of your head. Next, spin the balloon holding the top and the penny will spin. After a while the penny will stop spinning because of gravity. By the way, we also used rocket balloons to learn the 3rd law. We let them go by the nurses office and watch them fly!

    Reply
  12. Michael B.
    Michael B. says:

    In Mrs. Heaton’s class we got to work with Newton’s first law part one. This is the tendency of an object to stay at rest until a force acts upon it. Well… we learned this in a way I don’t think any one else has. With a penny, a balloon, and centripetal force we did Steve Spangler’s science expirement. If you put a penny inside a balloon and blow it, and spin the penny around you see the reaactions of centripetal force. The penny rolls around the side of the balloon pulling towards the center. Newton’s third law applies, because the penny doesn’t stop unless a force acts upon it. The penny does stop though because gravity is pulling down which is the force.

    Reply
  13. Jared
    Jared says:

    During the penny expiriment, you stick a penny in a balloon, blow it up, then spin it. It sounds easy huh? Not really. Sometimes the balloon pops, (it’s happened to me) and other times the penny just won’t spin. But either way, the expiriment displays Newton’s first law part two law (the tendancy of an object to stay in motion until a force acts upon it). As you can see our class is wierd, but fun.

    Reply
  14. SarahKate
    SarahKate says:

    The class that I am in is so cool!We do awesome experiments like blow stuff up! But thats another story.
    Anywase, the experiment(explained above) is really easy. All you have to do is take a penny, a ballon, and blow it up. Not litteraly blow it up….use your mouth. Once you shake up the ballon you will have fun, but also realize that you are using Newton’s Third law. And let me guess… you don’t know what that is. Well, what it is, is centripitalforce which means an object that will stay in motion until another force acts upon it. Also you can try to do the world’s most annoying experiment with doing the same thing except for not using a penny. Use a hexnut and shake it around in the blown up ballon. The sound is loud and obnoxious. Oh, and by the way, after we did that experiment, we let loud rocket ballons go wild in the nurse’s office! She went crazy!!

    Reply
  15. Zoe
    Zoe says:

    I am a student from Mrs. Heaton’s 5th grade class. I’m telling you: try this experiment, it’s simple and fun. Though there is hardly anything to it (one balloon and a penny), it taught me about something called Centripetal Force. This is the tendency for an object to keep moving until a force acts upon it. I swear, this is the weirdest class I have ever been in because we are actually doing strange and different expreriments that actually work. But just because it is weird doesn’t mean that it isn’t fun. This is also the coolest class that I’ve been in because we’re not just reading from a text book, but we are really doing things to make us understand better…
    We first put a penny in a balloon, and then blew the balloon up to a certain size. By first shaking the balloon and then spinning it in the same pattern over and over so that when finally you hold the ballon still, the penny keeps spinning. It looks like a planet going into orbit! It would keep spinning until the force of gravity finally pulled it back down to the bottom of the balloon. This is an awesome expreriment! So try it right now. All you need is a balloon and a penny. It’s as simple as that.
    Good luck!
    P.S. We also did another experiment with rocket balloons when we learned about Newton’s First Law.

    Reply
  16. Mary
    Mary says:

    I’ve had an unusually experiance in this class, but at the same time an awesome one!Today we did an experiment with a balloon in class. Steve Spangler taught us to put a penny in a balloon then blow the balloon up (with air). then we circlred the Penny around in the balloon which kept spinning until gravity and friction acted upon it. Although this experiment was fun to do, it was the lesson about this that was important. This is called Centripetal Force – the tendancy of an object to stay in movement until a force acts upon it (part two of Newton’s 1 law). We did another experiment that was blowing air into a rocket balloon than letting go! The balloon flew everywhere because the air inside of it had pressure on it. Try this! It’s a fun way off learning.

    Reply
  17. Craig
    Craig says:

    When we learned about Isaac Newton’s first law part two we used a hex-nut and a penny in a balloon. We first put a penny in a balloon not used and then blew it up. Not blew it up like it expoded but blew it up with our mouths. The frist law part two is the tendancey for an object to keep moving until a force acts upon it. Spin the blown up balloon with the penny inside it and watch what happens. The force acting upon it is gravity. An expirement for the third law is have a rocket balloon and blow it wup with the pump or your mouth, don’t tie it. Let go of it and watch what happens. The third law is for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. We did all of this with Steve Spangler.

    Reply
  18. illiana
    illiana says:

    Wow! That was neat! But I really want to know why when you put a hex nut in the balloon it makes a noise, but when you put a penny in it doesn’t (scientific reason). If someone could write something with the answer I would really appreciate it!

    Reply
  19. Steven
    Steven says:

    When you put a hexnut in the baloon, it makes noise because it is not always touching. When it is touching it makes a small noise.

    Reply
  20. Stefan
    Stefan says:

    Illiana, I just want to add something to Steven’s explanation. Because a penny is perfectly rounded, it just makes a whirring sound. However, a hex nut has grooves and points, so because it is switching sides as it rolls along, it makes that annoying noise!

    Reply
  21. Cassandra
    Cassandra says:

    Yesterday we launched homemade rockets! A few days ago we built our rockets out of paper, tape, cardboard, foam paper, stickers, and other materials. There were a lot of creative and beautifull rockets made. The only restrictions we had were that the rocket couldn’t be more than 3 feet long and couldn’t be less than 6 inches and the rocket had to be able to slide onto a special tube that we would use for launch or we couldn’t launch. My rocket’s nose cone blew of on the first launch. What I did to revise my rocket was that I taped the nose cone on really tight and I stabilized the fins with tape because they were very weak. The second launch worket a little better. The nose cone did not fly off and the fins stayed stable but my rocket still did not have a very successful launch.It was one of the shortest distances of the group. If I could do it again I would make my rocket smaller and tape everything on securely. This experiment was a good learning experiance for the whole class.We experianced how if something fails, you learn from that and fix whatever you did wrong. Just like Sonny and the Rocket Boys did.

    Reply
    • Alicia
      Alicia says:

      These things sound really cool. What grade do you teach? I am a 3rd year, 5th grade teacher and I am trying to spice up science. Do you think these things would above or below level for a 5th grade class?

      Reply
  22. Victoria
    Victoria says:

    Hi, I’m just wondering which school you come from. You seem like a group that has a great deal of fun! I teach fourth grade and may eventually become a Gifted teacher (or stay in 4th and keep teaching the challenging material!). What are some other neat things you have done in your class?

    Reply
  23. Brett
    Brett says:

    We come from willow creek. I missed this day but have done this experiment before. We have done a variey of experiments such as paper rockets, pump rockets, the sissy machine(a safe electric shock), engine powered rockets. Steve Spangler gave us an autographed copy of an experiment book. He is amazing and I will no longer see him in class because he could fit 4 two hour sessions in with us. I think that becoming a GT teacher would be a great idea. Your students will have fun and have a larger responsibility than the rest of the class. Thanks for blogging!!!

    Reply
  24. Dr BJ Gallagher
    Dr BJ Gallagher says:

    You all should be so proud of the work that you have presented here. I hope you had as much fun writing about your projects as I did reading about them. Keep blogging!

    Reply
  25. MIkaela
    MIkaela says:

    today i learned that to make a sertan design you you need to twist your shirt or fold then twist the shirt, ect. i had a fabulous time!

    Reply
  26. Tyler
    Tyler says:

    Mr. Spangler the experience of learning how to tie-die was sweet. My shirt is in the wash right this minute Logan, Dalton, Chase, and I were all at the same table and we were lucky that happend. In class, we sit on opposit sides because we talk a lot. The fifth grade thanks you for a fantastic day.

    Reply
  27. Taylor
    Taylor says:

    Today, Mr. Spangler taught us so much. I’ll write SOME of the many things he taught us. The tie dye shirts have to be 100% cotton, or you can buy P.F.D. shirts (prepared for dyeing) at the store without the trouble of soaking things and stuff. You have to soak it in washing soda, and in it is sodium carbonate. We also learned that you need to mix the primary colors together. Like red and yellow, red and blue, and yellow and blue make three new colors to add to out already colorful tie dye shirts. You also need to twist you’re shirt a certain way to get a certain kind of pattern in your shirt. Thanks so much, Mr. Spangler! I had an AWESOME time!

    Reply
  28. LeElle
    LeElle says:

    One day we did an experiment we made ice cream it was a surpise we needed milk,ice, and vinilla exstraxt we need to put them in a bag and shook them hard and my fingers got pure red and cold more like freezing!!!! It tasted so good it was a very hot day last year it was 100 degrees outside. Please try it.

    Reply

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