Since summer break is quickly approaching we thought it was the perfect time to give away Dad’s Book of Awesome Science Experiments: From Boiling Ice and Exploding Soap to Erupting Volcanoes and Launching Rockets, 30 Inventive Experiments to Excite the Whole Family!. As you may have been able to tell from our video where Jaime and Jacinda attempt to make raisins dance in the name of science, we are big fans of a good experiment.
Along with the giveaway we are also going to share the Straw Balloon Rocket Blasters Experiment from the book. This project in particular is focused on learning all about physics. Inside Dad’s Book of Awesome Science Experiments there are experiments you can do as a family that will teach you all about the human body, planet earth, chemistry, biology, and more. Thing thing that I especially love about this book is that it doesn’t require a whole bunch of crazy supplies for the experiments – most of them you probably already have at home.
Check out how to do the Straw Balloon Rocket Blasters experiment and enter for the chance to win a copy of Dad’s Book of Awesome Science Experiments after the jump…
Straw Balloon Rocket Blasters
Warning: This is one of those science experiments that will have you on repeat for the rest of the day, so plan ahead.
Yes, you’ll learn about rocket propulsion. Yes, you’ll learn about Newton’s Third Law of Motion (every action has an equal and opposite reaction). But mostly, you are going to have so much fun that you’ll probably be doing this over and over and over again. Basically, you’re going to strap a straw to a balloon and watch as it propels along a track of wire or thread, but again, be warned, this is addictive and soon enough your little mad scientist will be asking to launch rockets to the roof and beyond. Science, my friend, rocks.
Why It Works
Here’s the deal: You’re going to run a long string through a straw and then tie one end of the string to a high place—a tree, a bookshelf, doesn’t matter. Then you’ll tape the straw to a party balloon you simply blow up. Hold the other end of the string with one hand while you let the balloon go. Watch as the balloon climbs up the string—a mini-rocket in the works.
But what makes the balloon rocket away? It’s just filled with your hot air, right? Exactly.
This is Sir Isaac Newton’s Third Law of Motion in play. (He was the guy who figured out that gravity is the force that keeps us tethered to Earth.)
The law goes like this: For every action (the air escaping the balloon and pushing against the air outside), there is an opposite reaction (the balloon moving forward). Real rockets work in much the same manner, only they use fuel and enormous engines to create the thrust, or downward force, needed for the upward force of the rocket. Plus, instead of a string and a straw to keep them flying straight, they’ve got wings and stabilizers. (Which would also be a phenomenal science experiment: to see if you can craft wings or rocket-like devices to make the balloon go straight without the string and straw set-up—a very fun rainy-day science project.)
Did You Know?
If you’re like us, any time you bring out balloons, it’s only a matter of time before your little scientist starts wondering just how many helium-filled balloons it would take to make a person fly. Well, to make an 85-pound person float, it would take a helium balloon at least 13 feet in diameter. That’s a lot of helium . . .
Here’s What You Need
• A balloon
• A long string
• A straw
Here’s What You Do
1. For starters, have your lab partner blow up a balloon and then let it go. What happens? It goes crazy, right? Right. Now let’s try to focus that air pressure to make a cool DIY rocket.
2. Cut a long piece of string and tie or tape one end far away. It doesn’t matter how far or how high you go. Basically, the string will serve as a “track” for your rocket, so set your track anywhere you’d like. We’ve taped ours to the kitchen table and then stood back, and we’ve taped one to the top of the stair banister. Go outside and find a good tree branch. The ceiling. A high shelf. You name it.
3. Next, run the other end of your string through the straw. Give yourself a few inches of string to hold on to.
4. Then, inflate the balloon and hold it tight—don’t tie it. Have your little scientist then tape the straw to your balloon, or you tape it while your lab partner holds the balloon. There’s no right way. But for this step, it definitely helps to have a partner. Taping the straw and holding the balloon is tricky . . .
5. When you’re ready, let the balloon go, and watch as the balloon then climbs up the string track, rocketing away.
Enter for the chance to win a copy of Dad’s Book of Awesome Science Experiments: From Boiling Ice and Exploding Soap to Erupting Volcanoes and Launching Rockets, 30 Inventive Experiments to Excite the Whole Family! using the Rafflecopter below…