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Embed code for: Balloon Powered Projects Grade 2-5
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Includes: Balloon Powered Car w/ STEM design process templates + student job cards and Stylish Balloon Confetti Bowl and Balloon Bracelets projects
Projects Inspired by: Home Science Tool Music Credit: These Moments
Balloon Rocket Car
Sir Isaac Newton laid the foundation for the modern science of rocketry near the end of the 17th century. Newton's Laws of Motion are essential to rocket flight. Here are two of them:
1. ‘Objects at rest will stay at rest and objects in motion will stay in motion in a straight line unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.' In other words, the forces pushing a rocket up must be stronger than the force of gravity pulling it down.
2. 'For every action there is always an opposite and equal reaction.' When an action takes place, like gases escaping from the rocket, a reaction follows - the rocket rises in the air.
The principles of rocketry apply to more than flying rockets - with this project you can make a 'rocket car' that is powered by pressurized gas (air in a balloon!).
A rocket is simply a chamber filled with pressurized gas. A small opening called a nozzle allows the air to escape, causing thrust that propels the rocket. You can demonstrate this when you blow up a balloon and let it go without tying it off. The balloon will fly through the air as all the air inside escapes.
List of Materials :
16-20 oz. plastic water bottle
Wooden shish-kabob skewers
4 plastic bottle caps
Duct tape or masking tape
Nail, hammer, knife, scissors
The water bottle forms the chassis, or body, of your balloon car. You can start by mounting the wheels on this body.
1. Cut a drinking straw into two pieces as long as the water bottle is wide. Use strips of tape to attach them to the bottle - one near the front and one near the back. The axles for the wheels will run through these straws, so line them up carefully so the wheels won't be crooked.
2. Use a hammer and a small nail to poke holes through the center of four bottle caps. Cut two pieces of a wooden skewer about an inch-and-a-half longer than the pieces of straw you taped to the bottle. Push one end of each skewer through the hole in the center of a bottle cap. If the cap doesn't fit snugly on the skewer, use some modeling clay to hold it in place. Next, thread the skewers through the straws on the bottle and attach the other wheels to the other ends. Make sure your car rolls smoothly.
3. Stretch out a large balloon by blowing it up and then letting the air out of it a few times. Next, make a nozzle. The size of the nozzle is very important. If it is too small, the air can't escape with enough force to propel the car forward. If it is too big, the air will escape too fast and the car won't go very far. Create the nozzle by taping four drinking straws together. Insert the straws into the mouth of the balloon and seal the opening by wrapping a strip of duct tape around it several times.
4. To mount the balloon/nozzle on the car, use a knife to cut two perpendicular slits (to make an X) in the top of the car about 4' back from the mouth of the bottle. Thread the nozzle through this opening and out through the mouth of the bottle. Leave about an inch of the nozzle sticking out of the mouth.
5. Find a hard surface, like a long table, linoleum floor, or sidewalk. Blow up the balloon through the straws at the mouth of the bottle. Pinch the base of the balloon to prevent the air from escaping too soon. Set the car down, let go of the balloon, and watch it go!
The air in the balloon is gas under pressure. The air pushes against the balloon, causing it to expand, but the balloon is also pushing back on the air. The pressure of the balloon pushes the air right out through the nozzle, which creates thrust that propels the car forward.
Keep track of how long the car rolls and how far it goes. Try it several times, then try changing the design to see if you can get it to go farther or faster.
How will it work if you only use three straws for the nozzle? What if you use a bigger or smaller balloon?
Does the car go farther on linoleum or the sidewalk? Why do you think this might be? Will the car go farther if you start it at the top of a ramp?
Decorate your car and have races with siblings or friends.
Try to figure out why one car goes faster or farther than another, and keep experimenting to make your design better!
Think about how to create your idea
Write down the steps
Draw and Label
What is the problem?
What do you want to be able to do ?
Imagine what you could do
STEM DESIGN PROCESS
What did not work as well as you expected?
Modify your design
Measure and record
Does your idea work?
Did you achieve the result
Make a model
Follow your plan
Explain the challenge
Make sure everyone is on task
Decide when project is complete
Keep track of time
Gather Materials for Team Projects
Purchase items/supplies from
Decide when to test
Provide data to teams
STEM JOB CARDS
Draw and label your teams design
Plan the steps for the
Oversee the building process
Record the materials used
Record the steps taken
Write down the results
Explain results to the class
Follow the Chief Builders plan
Use the materials to construct the project
Listen to the teams ideas
1.) Describe the problem? What do you want to happen?
2.) Brainstorm! Jot down your ideas in the table below. Place an X in the box that represents your teams choice.
Describe your idea(s)
Difficulty (rate 1-5)
Place “X ”
3.) List the materials you will use
4.) Draw, label and provide measurements for your design
5.) Write down the steps of your plan
6.) Test your design. Describe how you tested it and what happened.
Describe how you tested it
7.) Record your data below
8.) Review & Modify
What would you do differently next time?
Project Challenge: _______________________________
Group/Team Names: _______________________________
Drawing & labels
Drawing with labels & measurements
Did not work cooperatively
Worked cooperatively, Completed entire plan
More than two requirements missing/incomplete
1 requirements missing/incomplete
All requirements met
Testing Outcome (distance)
Car travelled < 3 feet
Car travelled > 3 feet but < 7 feet
Car travelled > 7 feet
(speed) ** insert criteria based on testing surface
Take Project score and divide by 10 to determine Team Pay-Out (round up!)
Team Project Score
# of Scored Points
Group/Team Name: _______________________________
Award (3) script for minimal effort of job role/poor behavior Award (10) script for adequate effort of job role/ cooperative behavior Award (15) script for above average effort of job role/ cooperative behavior
Provide data to teams Data Analyzer
Purchase items/supplies from reward shop
Student Name: _____________________ Amount Paid :______
Plan the steps for the building process
Use the materials to construct the project
Blow air into a balloon until it is ¾ full
Place the balloon firmly into the vase/bowl
with the knotted end facing downward
Use the sponge brush to apply a layer of mod podge, followed with a thin layer of confetti. Repeat 3-4x
Allow project to dry before safely pricking balloon with a nail or pair of scissors. ( Adult preferred)
Use the scissors and cut around the rim for a finished look!
List of Materials:
Mod Podge ( glue medium, all- in-one sealer & finish)
Nail or scissors to pop balloon
New Fad Trinket…Balloon Bracelet!
Long balloons like the ones to make animal balloons
Masking tape (Optional)
First, snip the ends off of the balloons that you plan to use. Cutting the balloons into two to three pieces makes it much easier to thread the balloons on the string.
String the balloon onto the elastic. To hold the elastic in place tape it down with a piece of masking tape
Repeat the process with as many as 5-6 balloons
Nice job! What other unique designs could you create. Makes a great gift for family or friends! blem? What do you want to happen?
Listen to the