One of the things I like to do with all of my training sessions is to provide participants with something to take home that they can use IMMEDIATELY with the children they work with. Throughout the summer, we have been making air powered bottle rockets!
These rockets are quite simple to make, and with the bottle version are great for improving fine motor skills. Each time a child squeezes the bottle, they are working on strengthening those muscles! Another adaptation of this rocket is just to use the straws. This form often produces a lot of “spit”, BUT is fantastic for children who need some extra help developing muscles around their mouth that help with speech :). (Leeanne has a great tutorial for the plain straw ones over at Kreative Resources)
What you need:
Empty Plastic Bottle With Lid
2 Straws of varying diameter
Paper/Cardboard/Plastic (optional for decorating)
Drill and Drill Bit (size of the narrow straw)
Step 1: Drill a hole in the center of the bottle cap
Step 2: Put the narrow straw through the hole. (You will want to place the straw mostly in the bottle. If you have a bendy straw, cut the bendy part off before you put the straw in place OR place that part down in the bottle)
Step 3: Secure the straw to the bottle top with a rim of hot glue around the edge. This serves two purposes. First, it secures the straw, secondly it keeps the air from escaping through the gap.
Step 4: Take the broader straw and fold the end over a couple of times and secure with tape. This prevents the air from escaping out the end of the straw which allows the air pressure to send the rocket flying.
Step 5: Decorate the broader straw as a rocket if you choose. You could try different shapes to test what shapes are most aerodynamic!
Step 6: Place the broad straw over the narrow straw
Ta Da! Your Rocket is Complete!
Now, all you have to do is squeeze the bottle to blast your rocket off!
(I learned how to make these rockets back in March when I attended the MiAEYC Conference in Grand Rapids. One of the workshops had oodles and oodles of great ideas for math and science, including this great one to make rockets out of bottles and straws. (I’ve referred to this workshop once before when I mentioned “Our Tree” – For those of you interested in the workshop, it was entitled: “Trees, Penguins, Seed, Recycling, Space and More: Innovative Ideas for Teaching Math and Science” it was presented by Sharon Grala, Darlene Pranion, Jenny Kluza, and Lisa Barker from the L’Anse Creuse Public Schools in Harrison Township, Michigan).
Dane and Allan put together a couple of other rockets this week…. In fact, this air powered rocket has flown 143 feet!