This post is sponsored by Origin Energy.
Making abstract concepts easy for children to understand can be difficult, especially when learning about things that are difficult to see or touch, such as science concepts related to things like gases or plant osmosis or how energy is made. To help children understand these types of abstract concepts it is important to look for ways of engaging them actively with the subject – by making the learning hands-on and by engaging the body and the mind through actual, physical application. Opportunities for creative expression, excursions or field trips, cooking and fun science experiments are just four great ways to achieve this goal.
Making an air rocket is certainly one way of making science learning engaging and physical! The whole family had so much fun with this activity and it was a great way to introduce Immy to the concepts of transferring energy and the power of air pressure!
How to Make an Air Rocket
You will need:
For the Rocket Launcher
- Approximately 2.5m of PVC pipe. The diameter of your pipe must be large enough to fit over the end of a 2L plastic soft drink bottle.
- One 2L plastic soft drink bottle (though it might be handy to have another couple in reserve to refit your launcher as the bottles do wear out from all of the stomping!)
- One 90 degree PVC elbow piece
- Roll of heavy duty electrical tape
- Rubber bands
For the Rocket
- 1 centre page spread from a magazine for the rocket’s body, staples removed
- 1 magazine page for the rocket’s nose cone
- Sticky tape
- Milk carton (or cereal box cardboard) to form the rocket’s fins
To make the Rocket Launcher:
1. Cut the PVC pipe into the following pieces:
- 1 x 1m
- 2 x 35cm
- 2 x 60cm
2. Make two rubber band ropes, each approximately 1m long, by interlocking rubber bands into a chain.
3. Form a cross from the 1m length of PVC pipe and one of the 35cm PVC pipe pieces, about 20cms from the end of the long pipe. Secure with one of the rubber band ropes. Repeat at the other end with the second 35cm piece.
3. Connect the 90 degree elbow to one end of the long PVC pipe and place one of the 60cm pieces of PVC pipe into the elbow.
4. At the other end of the long PVC pipe insert the mouth of the soft drink bottle into the pipe.
5. Cover all connections with electrical tape to secure.
To make the Rocket:
1. Wrap lengths of electrical tape smoothly around the second piece of 60cm piece of PVC. You want to make the pipe slightly wider so that your rocket will fit easily (but snuggly) over the end of the launcher
2. Take the centre page of the magazine and wrap it around the pipe to make the body of the rocket. The sheet should be wrapped tightly. Tape together with sticky tape along the length of the seam.
3. Make a cone from the additional magazine page to for the nose of the rocket. Secure to the body of the rocket with sticky tape. You want to make sure that the nose cone is secure and that no air can escape from the top of the rocket.
4. Cut out three triangular fins from the milk carton or cereal box cardboard. Tape fins to the rocket with electrical tape.
Prepare to Launch!
Take your rocket launcher outdoors. You will want a large, open area as your rocket is going to get some height!
To launch, place the rocket onto the open end of the launcher and stomp (as hard as you can) on the centre of the soft drink bottle.
To reset, blow on the launcher end of the pipe to re-inflate bottle. Then you are ready to go again!
Be sure to ask your child what they think makes the rocket lift off!
The Energy Made Fresh Roadshow
Also committed to making learning active and fun, Origin Energy has recently launched it’s Energy Made Fresh Roadshow. Learning about energy is about as abstract as it comes but through the Energy Made Fresh program children in grades 3-8 will be actively engaged in learning how energy is generated and stored by making it themselves!
At four interactive ‘energy stations’ the students will have fun generating and calculating energy through dancing, bike riding and other active exercises, and for every kilojoule of energy produced, students will earn ‘energy money.’ Half of the energy money raised will be kept by the school for use on a school project, and the other half will be paid to a local community organisation nominated by the school. The Energy Made Fresh roadshow is currently available to schools in Victoria, NSW, Queensland and ACT (rural and metro areas).
The roadshow builds on Origin’s recently re-launched Energy for Schools website and highlights the company’s ongoing commitment to the education of Australian students. The website provides free curriculum resources for primary and secondary students in years three to eight, and over 40% of Australian primary schools are currently registered with the program.
To find out more about the roadshow and the Energy for Schools program visit the website and subscribe to the Energy for Schools newsletter (parents, feel free to share this resource with your school). You can also keep up to date with the roadshow’s journey through schools via the Origin Energy Facebook page.
THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED
To celebrate the launch of the Energy Made Fresh roadshow, Origin Energy is offering Australian Childhood 101 readers the opportunity to win an iPad Mini! To enter, leave a comment on this post in response to this question;
In 25 words or less, tell me what do you wish you had more time and energy for?
Australian entrants only. This is a game of skill and entries will be judged based on creativity and originality. Entries close 5pm AEST, Thursday 18th September 2014.