Hover Crafts

Name of Activity Hover Crafts
Author STOMP
Keywords air resistance, design engineering, aeronautical engineering, wind, tunnel, fan
Subject Non-LEGO
Grade Level 3, 4, 5, 6
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description Given some basic household supplies (popsicle sticks, paper, foam, aluminum foil, straws, clothes pins, etc), students were asked to create a “hover craft” that could remain in the air inside a wind tunnel created using a tunnel and a fan.
Lesson Objectives: -Emphasize the engineering design process and the need for testing and redesigning.
-Discuss and explore air resistance and forces.
Materials Needed: -wind tunnel
-fan
-popsicle sticks
-paper
-foam
-aluminum foil
-straws
-clothes pins
-construction paper
-Activity Worksheet
Preparation and Set Up: -Print out enough copies of the activity worksheet
-separate materials into bags will equal numbers of each material per group
-set up the wind tunnel by placing the tunnel on top of the fan and turning the fan on
Necessary Background -Discuss air resistance
-Discuss design engineering/aeronautical engineering
Procedure 1. Explain the challenge–to create a hovercraft that stays in the air the longest. 2. Students draw initial designs and then discuss their designs in their groups. 3. Students combine ideas into one design and then may begin to build with the materials. 4. Students test and redesign throughout the class period evaluating what is working well and what isn’t. 5. The class discusses the best and worst pieces of their many designs and discusses why they might have worked/not worked.
Extensions: To make the activity more difficult, you may give students fewer materials or give them a “budget” with which to “buy” materials.
Modifications: It is important not to use too strong a fan or else no matter what they make, it will just fly out of the tunnel.
Reference 1 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/worksheet-for-aeronautical-engineering.docx
Umbrella Unit/Curriculum (if applicable) Intro to Types of Engineering

Designing a Parachute

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

Name of Activity Designing a Parachute
Author STOMP
Keywords parachute, string, weight, target, test, materials, air resistance
Subject Non-LEGO
Grade Level K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9+
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description Students will select one type of paper for their parachute (i.e. tissue paper, napkin, paper towel, etc.) based on what they think will work best. The students will make a parachute with the paper and string and attach a weight. The students will then test their parachute.
Lesson Objectives: To learn about air flow and materials.
Materials Needed: Tissue paper
Napkins
Construction paper
Newspaper
Paper towels
String
Tape
1/4 lb Weights (a few batteries tied together would also work)
Preparation and Set Up: - Arrange students into groups.
- Distribute materials.
Necessary Background Vocabulary:
Air resistance
Procedure
  1. Explain the concept of air resistance to the class.
    1. Air resistance is the force that acts on anything moving through the air. It is not very heavy so humans don’t notice it much. Without air resistance things would fall faster than they do. The more surface area an object has the more air resistance affects it. This is why parachuters use wide light materials to slow them down as they fall.
  2. Have students cut a circle with a 6 inch radius of a paper of their choice.
  3. Have students cut 8 12 inch pieces of string and tape them at equal distances around the edge of the canopy.
  4. Tape the other end of the string to the weight.
  5. Drop the parachutes from a decided height and see if it works.
  6. Repeat steps 2 – 5 with all the different papers.
  7. Discuss the activity as a class. Ask the students:
    1. What material worked best for the parachutes? Why?
    2. What didn’t work as well? why?
    3. What changes would improve your design?
    4. What about a larger or smaller canopy?
    5. What would happen if you added more weight?
Extensions: Take the paper material that worked best and test different sized parachutes.
Make parachutes out of different materials.
Have a competition to see what parachute can land most gently.
Reference 1 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/aarongolf1.doc
Reference 2 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/Justin-2-STOMP1.doc
Reference 3 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/Margules-Obstacle-2-STOMP1.doc
Reference 4 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/Melissa1.doc
Reference 5 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/Mini-Golf-DiCarlo-2-STOMP1.doc

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