How does a rocket fly?
Experiment: The rocket
Hypotheses: After introducing a brief discussion about rockets (picture books, story, video, Internet), ask children how a rocket flies. Let them provide any ideas they may have.
- One plastic bottle with a cap per child
(The greater the bottles' malleability, the better the experiment will succeed since children will be able to compress the bottles easily. Rigid plastic does not work as well.)
- Two drinking straws with different diameters per child (straws must be easy to insert one inside the other)
- A small ball of modeling dough per child
- A nail
- Your caregiver will give you a plastic bottle with a cap. She will have made a hole in the cap using a nail. The hole must be big enough for you to insert the smaller straw.
- Insert the smaller straw in the hole and use a small piece of modeling dough to block the contour of the hole (see diagram). This bottle will be the launch pad for your rocket. You may set it aside for now.
- Now, you can build your rocket. Cut two triangles out of cardboard (see diagram).
- With tape, glue your two triangles to one end of the larger straw.
- Deposit a small ball of modeling dough at the other end. Shape your rocket's nose (see diagram).
- Deposit your rocket on its launch pad by sliding the larger straw over the smaller one.
- With your friends, count backwards to announce your rocket's lift-off: 5...4...3...2...1...0! Firmly compress your bottle and watch your rocket shoot into the air!
Diagram: Rocket Launch pad
Explanations: Ask children to explain what made the rocket shoot into the air. The air which was in the bottle before you compressed it is a gas. This air shot up the straw when you exerted pressure on the bottle since it had nowhere else to go. It exerted force on the nose of your rocket, making it fly up! This same principle makes it possible for a real rocket to lift off. However, real rockets do not use air alone. Instead, they use an explosive mixture of very powerful gases. Obviously, a real rocket needs tremendous force to lift off and reach outer space!
has a Bachelor's Degree in Biological Science. She has worked in a laboratory and tested her knowledge. She has taught Math, Chemistry, and Physics. She has also developed a simplistic and innovative approach designed to introduce young children to scientific experiments, old and new. She created her friend Globule. This character is sometimes red, and sometimes white. He guides little ones through their scientific experiments and discoveries. It is clear to see Angélique is passionate about children and science. Globule's Approach.