One way to get students involved and interested in science is to develop hands-on experiments for which the class can be involved in creating an actual scientific reaction. One fun experiment that gets students excited about science involves flying objects. Defying gravity is fun for students and can teach them about aerodynamics, gravity, and lift. Try one of these fun science experiments with flying objects to get your class excited.
Sizzling Air Balloon
This flying-object experiment is very simple, but it will teach a class about density and what causes some objects to float and others to sink in the air. This experiment requires a garbage bag, duct tape, and a hair dryer. Open the garbage bag and use duct tape to narrow the opening. There should be a tiny hole still open. Using the hair dryer, blow hot air into the bag. Turn the hair dryer off and let go of the bag. The bag will rise. This is because hot air has less density than cooler air. There is less air strain within the "hot air balloon" and will make the balloon rise.
This flying object experiment requires paper, a ruler, scissors and crayons. Cut a strip of paper about 7 inches long and 1/2 inch wide. Cut a slit in the paper strip about 1/2 inch from the end. Do the same at the other end. Slip the end of one side into the slot on the other side. The paper should look like a small fish. That is the spinning blimp. Hold the blimp and drop it. Watch it fly to the ground. Try other modifications to the blimp such as making the tail longer or throwing it instead of dropping it. Making these modifications will help students learn about aerodynamics. Try using different kinds of paper. Keep track of your changes and the affects they had on the flight of the object. Then, lead a class discussion on why these changes affected the object.
Unidentified Flying Object
Whether aliens exist may be up for debate, but a class can create its own UFOs using common classroom objects. This experiment requires six paper plates, scissors, a compass, stapler, masking tape, paper, stopwatch, and a measuring tape. This experiment will explore whether diameter will have any effect on the UFO's hang time and distance. Pair up the six paper plates. There are now three sets. Do not do anything to the first set. Using the compass, cut an inch off each plate's diameter in the second set and cut two inches off each plate in the third set. Staple each pair of plates together so that the surfaces you would put food on face each other. Using the masking tape, mark a starting line on the floor. Toss each saucer at least five times and record the hang time and distance traveled for each set. As a class, analyze the data. Which UFO stayed in the air the longest? Why is this?
This very simple experiment will demonstrate lift to a class. This experiment requires a few sheets of 8.5-by-11 paper. Bend the paper as though you are making a book with the shorter sides together. Do not crease the paper. Tape the two ends together. Place the paper on a flat surface so that the taped end is at the edge of the flat surface. Then, blow strongly across the top of the paper. The rounded end of the paper will rise in the air. This is because breath will make the air on top of the paper move faster than the air under the paper. This will demonstrate lift and air pressure concepts to your class.
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