We worked on the scientist activity pin during 5 days of day camp. Below is the information for day 1.
- Ensure weather station is in place and operating
- Printouts of Bernoulli’s principle and Pascal’s Law
- Lots of extra paper (blank)
- Paper clips
- Two 5 gallon buckets
- Water bottles
- Film canisters (or other small container that seals)
Requirements covered and activities for each requirement
Weather Belt Loop requirement 2. Set up a simple weather station to record rainfall, temperature, air pressure, or evaporation for one week
- Show the boys the weather station, give each a Weather BL worksheet, and have them measure the weather and write it on the worksheet.
- Have them write their name and group on the top of the worksheet. Collect them (they will keep them on Friday).
Scientist 1. Read Bernoulli’s Principle. Show how it works.
- Hand out paper to each scout with the principle stated on it. (This can turn into their airplane later). Have one of the boys read it out loud. Then say you are going to do lots of experiments to demonstrate it.
- Paper Strip Experiment: Have each boy cut a piece of paper to around 2″ by 6″ (you don’t need a ruler, just approximate). Hold the narrow end, with the other end hanging down, in front of your mouth and blow across the top. Most people think the paper should go down as you blow across the top but surprisingly the paper rises up. (boyscouttrail.com) Ask them why this happens? Have them discuss how this relates to Bernoulli’s principle by looking at the written version of it again. Note: this worked for most of the boys even in the wind.
- Paper Wing Experiment: Have each boy cut a 4″ by a 8 1/2″ piece of paper and fold it in half. Tape the narrow edge one inch from opposite edge so that a wing with a flat bottom and curved top is formed. Slip a ruler through the wing loop end opposite the taped end with the curved side up. Now, blow directly at the folded part. The wing should rise up. (boyscouttrail.com). Have them discuss how this relates to Bernoulli’s principle by looking at the written version of it again. Note: this had a lot of trouble working in the wind.
- Using what they know now, have the boys make and fly paper airplanes. Compete for the highest flight and the farthest flight. They can use paper, tape and paper clips. Note: this worked really well!
Scientist 2. Read Pascal’s Law. Tell about some inventions that use Pascal’s law.
- Put two clean and dry 5 gallon buckets inside each other. Pull them apart (it should be easy). Now wet the buckets slightly and try again. This should be MUCH harder. This is an application of Pascal’s law.
- When you drink something with a straw, do you suck up the liquid? No! What happens is that the air pressure inside the straw is reduced, so that the air outside the straw forces the liquid up the straw. To prove this fill a bottle with water, put a straw into the bottle, and then seal the top of the bottle with clay, taking care that the straw is not bent or crimped. Have one of the boys try to suck the water out of the bottle. They can’t do it! Remove the clay and have the boy put two straws into his mouth. Put one of the straws into the bottle of water and the other on the outside. Again he’ll have no luck in sucking water out of the bottle. The second straw equalizes the air pressure! (boyscouttrail.com)
- Have the boys make and launch antacid rockets in the small clear containers. Put the antacid in the container with a little water and seal tightly. Shake slightly and put them upside down (lid down). Place it away from other boys and step back. Do this once yourself first so they understand! Ensure they don’t do it near each other. Have them wear safety glasses!
- Before you do this, check the weather. The wing experiment was very hard to do in the 20-30 mph wind gusts we had that day. The wind also interfered with the paper airplanes but the boys didn’t really mind as they just loved throwing them.
- Have the adults ready to help make paper airplanes as a surprising number of boys didn’t know how to make paper airplanes.
- Buy real alka-seltzer instead of generic (several of the adults testified that it works better than the generic kind). Also, be sure to use real film-cannisters if you can find them. We had 2 but mostly used paint canisters from the local hobby store. The seal wasn’t very good and we had to adjust it with tape around the rims before giving them to the boys.
- Stop: This worked really well overall but we did adjust it between groups to remove the wing experiment (due to the wind issues) and we never did the bucket experiment (due to time and lack of equipment).
- Continue: The majority of this worked really well and I would do it again with the adjustments noted above.