February 27, 2012

Look Out Below!

8th Grade students have been working on Science Olympiad projects this quarter.  They are using Science Olympiad projects to learn about the scientific method.  Students were posed a question: How to keep a 2 Liter bottle rocket in the air the longest?  Students have constructed bottle rockets in 6th and 7th grade before so they are using their prior knowledge to come up with a Hypothesis on how to build a better rocket.  Students then built their rocket in class and then started to collect data on their rockets.  We found the mass, height, and volume of water we wanted to put inside the rocket.  When we went outside and tested the rocket, we also collected how long the rocket stayed in the air and the angle of the rocket in the air to estimate its height using a little math.

The 8th graders put their data into an Excel spreadsheet, analyzed the data and found out that the taller rockets tended to do the best.  In looking at their observations the shorter rockets would flip in the air and loose their energy.  The taller rockets would stay upright and fly high into the air.  The rockets with the best times would turn sideways in their decent and float to the ground slowly.  Overall the students had a good time launching their rockets and determining their time aloft.  In the process we only lost 2 rockets, one on top of the school and one landed on Mr. Huerta and Mrs. Biehl's modular!  The wind has since freed these rockets of their resting places.

The students are working on a majority of the Science Olympiad events.  They have taken an Anatomy test, built a bottle rocket, and are in process of constructing a tower out of balsa wood or building a catapult.  Next week they will begin building mousetrap cars.  We are keeping track of the top 10 places in each event and giving points to these students.  The 15 students with the most points overall will travel to Kearney on March 20th to participate in the ESU 10 regional Science Olympiad Contest.