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Workshop Syllabus

Workshop: Fun Physics

Length of workshop: 1 day

Overview: Take everyday items and transform them into magical objects.

StarTime’s Fun Physics workshop is designed to take everyday items and transform them into magical objects creating gravity, friction, static electricity, kinetic energy, force, motion and magnetism. Participants will engage in scientific play to discover how these elements in our world interact.

As in all StarTime workshops, exercises and activities will be highly collaborative in nature, fostering creativity and end with students performing their favourite experiment to the group.

Popsicle sticks will make catapults for our “catapult wars,” Participants will create rockets powered by carbon dioxide. Magnets will be used to discover what everyday metals attract to each other. Of course, our favourite slime making will be back to discover the planets of our solar system and how they interact.

Professor Eis-in-slime will make his anticipated appearance and guide students through their day of discovery.

Participants will:

  • Engage in experiments that demonstrate and define the physics behind our everyday world
  • Create parachutes and measure flight based on size and shape
  • Create egg crash containers
  • Create a popsicle stick catapult
  • Interact with our plasma ball and discover static electricity
  • Build a slime solar system
  • Foster a curiosity about the world of physics and the fun it creates!

Session 1

Rockets  – (Type 1)

WHAT: Students will design and create rockets using the materials provided and investigate how changing the amount of vinegar and baking soda will affect the distance travelled

DEMONSTRATION

1) Turn the bottle rocket (see picture) upside down and fill about half-way with vinegar.
2) Using your pre-made baking soda paper towel, Place the towel into the bottle but do not let it touch the vinegar, leave a tad hanging out.
3) Place the cork in the bottle and quickly turn the bottle over.

SAFETY PRECAUTIONS; Goggles to be worn. Be careful when launching rockets, sometimes they may seem like a dud and sit there for some time. Always wear goggles and never put head directly over the rocket when checking. A gentle shake at arm’s length should get the reaction going.

WHAT’S HAPPENING
A neutralisation reaction will happen between the baking soda and the vinegar whereby the gas carbon dioxide is produced. If there are enough reactants the gas will build up inside the bottle increasing the pressure until the rocket ‘launches’.

https://lemonlimeadventures.com/diy-rocket-building-station-kids/

Type 1; Baking soda and vinegar rockets (messy activity if done inside floor covering is required)

  • Baking soda parcels (spoonful of baking soda wrapped in kitchen towel)
  • Vinegar
  • Mat for floor (not needed if outside)
  • Corks
  • plastic water bottles (sometimes smaller ones work better because
    straws struggle to hold the 2 litre bottles up)
  • Strong straws for rocket legs

OPTIONAL IF HAVE TIME; Things to decorate rockets with team name;
paper, tape (make sure the decorations can be taken off so water bottles
can be used again)

Head Coach:

  • to demo activity

Coach:

  • to assist with
    assignment and
    organisation of
    materials as well as
    management of
    students

OPTIONAL IF HAVE TIME;
Things to decorate rockets with team name; paper, tape (make sure the decorations can be taken off so water bottles can be used again)

REMINDER
Nobody touches materials without coaches go ahead. ‘Equipment managers’ collect materials to ensure smooth transitions
Students tidy up and help, encourage this by awarding stars for successful ‘cleansing agents’

Rockets  – (Type 2)

WHAT: Type 2; Water pressure rockets (OUTSIDE ONLY rockets can travel up to 30m and water will be
released when they fly)

DEMONSTRATION

1. Take students outside and get them to stand back from rocket
2. Ask a volunteer to decide how much water to put into the bottle (around 1/3 is a good amount, too much and it won’t fire off, too little and the pressure won’t build up enough)
3. Mount rocket on homemade rocket pump and pump until rocket is released (put rocket at an angle unlike in the video so distance travelled can be measure SAFETY; make sure the rocket is pointing away from the crowd)
4. Measure distance travelled
5. Individuals or groups of students can come forth and debate how much water to put into the rocket
6. The group whose travels the furthest wins

*This all depends on the type of homemade rocket pump made*

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7JaMmfhpOzIhttps://lemonlimeadventures.com/diy-rocket-building-station-kids/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ii6D1R6lXVA

Type 2; Water pressure rockets (OUTSIDE ONLY rockets can travel up to 30m and water will be
released when they fly)

  • 2 litre plastic water bottle
  • Bucket of water and measuring jug
  • Measuring device to measure distance rocket travelled e.g. tape measure of measuring wheel
  • Homemade rocket pump (really simple if you buy the corks and bike pump, trial before so
    confident with how it works)
  • Launchpad to support rocket
  • Scoreboard

Head Coach:

  • to demo activity

Coach:

  • to assist with
    assignment and
    organisation of
    materials as well as
    management of
    students

TYPE 2; Water pressure rockets (OUTSIDE ONLY rockets can travel up to 30m and water will be
released when they fly)

REMINDER
Nobody touches materials without coaches go ahead. ‘Equipment managers’ collect materials to ensure smooth transitions
Students tidy up and help, encourage this by awarding stars for successful ‘cleansing agents’

Session 2

Parachutes

WHAT: Students will design and create parachutes using the materials provided and investigate how the size and shape of the parachute affects the time taken to reach the ground

DEMONSTRATION
1. Coaches to demonstrate how to create a simple parachute as per picture.
2. ‘Parachutes’ made from black plastic trash-liners with string (minimum of 3 strands needed, depending on the shape) taped from the corners and onto toy soldier.
3. Shape ideas for parachutes; circular, square, rectangular, banana, star shapes.

HOW:

  • Students to take materials, create 2/3 parachutes in their groups and investigate how the shape and/or size of the parachute affects the time taken to fall.
  • Coach and/or students to time fall with stopwatches/phones.
  • Results will be more accurate and reliable if there are multiple drops and/or timers and an average is
    taken.

WHAT’S HAPPENING
The best parachute is the one that takes the longest time to fall to the ground
because parachutes should be designed to increase air resistance in order to
increase the time taken for an object to fall and prevent injury from crashing.

  • Bin bag
  • Scissors
  • String
  • Tape
  • Toy soldier
  • Stopwatch
  • Scoreboard

Head Coach:

  • to demo activity

Coach:

  • to assist with
    assignment and
    organisation of
    materials as well as
    management of
    students

If pushed for time or groups are comprised of younger students who may not be able to time falls without supervision of adults, groups could make one parachute of their desired shape/size and the parachute drop can be done as a whole group activity with Stars for the group with the best parachute.

Parachutes will work best the bigger the distance from drop height to ground. Coaches can either drop the parachutes standing on the stepladders/table or at the top of some stairs/out of a window/from a balcony depending on the facilities of the venue.

REMINDER
Nobody touches materials without coaches go ahead. ‘Equipment managers’ collect materials to ensure smooth transitions
Students tidy up and help, encourage this by awarding stars for successful ‘cleansing agents’

Egg Drop Challenge

WHAT: Students will design and create egg crash containers using the materials provided and see how high
they can drop their egg from without it cracking open

DEMONSTRATION

1. Coach can make a simple protective package for an egg and drop it in front of students so they understand the challenge
2. Show students examples of egg drop packages on computer or print pictures as handouts

  • Students are given a set amount of materials to design a container to package their egg in order to prevent it breaking when dropped from a certain height.
  • Rules can change depending on what materials you have available e.g. only using straws or balloons or a variety of materials.
  • This challenge depends on the location and facilities of the workshop. For example, if you have a balcony/space where you can do the egg drops from, the heights can be increased and the group whose egg survives from the highest fall can be crowned the winners.
  • Alternatively, if height is restricted it can be the group whose egg survives the longest amount of times being dropped from a height of say 1 or 2m.
  • Students can be encouraged to present their designs to the rest of the group as is the StarTime way.

WHAT’S HAPPENING
The most successful protection will be one which absorbs the force of the fall
therefor preventing the egg breaking. This can be done by padding the egg or
using the materials to make a shock absorption system. Another way to reduce the chance of breakage is by slowing down the speed at which the egg falls through use of parachute/balloons. These work by increasing the air resistance. If students are struggling for ideas get them to imagine how they would wrap glass to send as a present to someone. What could they do to minimise the chance of the glass breaking? What materials would be the most effective?

The link contains ideas for different egg-drop containers these pictures can be used to give students ideas. Images from the following link can be printed on paper and laminated to give students inspiration
https://www.google.com.au/search?q=egg+drop+challenge+ideas&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwifxN_lnrzcAhWIbbwKHX91AiAQ_AUICigB.

  • Straws (do not point at the egg as they will puncture the egg)
  • Eggs x 24
  • Parachutes
  • String
  • Tape
  • Paper
  • Cardboard
  • Balloons
  • Polystyrene padding
  • Washing up sponges
  • Anything else you can get your hands on!

Head Coach:

  • to demo activity

Coach:

  • to assist with
    assignment and
    organisation of
    materials as well as
    management of
    students

REMINDER
Nobody touches materials without coaches go ahead. ‘Equipment managers’ collect materials to ensure smooth transitions
Students tidy up and help, encourage this by awarding stars for successful ‘cleansing agents’

Popsicle Catapults

WHAT:Students will create a popsicle stick catapult and see how far they can catapult different objects

HOW
Which will fly the farthest! Make predictions and test results. Why does one fly farther than the other?

1. You will want to use a pair of scissors to make two v notches on either side of two jumbo craft or popsicle sticks (in the same place on both sticks). Use the photos/link as a guide for where to make your notches.

SAFETY PRECAUTION: adults should be with young students when
making notches if not prepared before

2. Take the remaining 8 craft sticks and stack them one on top of the other.
Wind a rubber band tightly around each end of the stack.
3. Go ahead and push one of the notched sticks through the stack, under
the top stick of the stack.
4. At this point flip your partially made popsicle stick catapult over so that
the stick you just pushed in is on the bottom of the stack.
5. Lay the second notched stick on top of the stack and secure the two
popsicle sticks together with a rubber band as shown in the pictures. The
V notches that you cut help to keep the rubber band in place.
6. Create more leverage with your catapult by pushing the stack of popsicle
sticks towards the notched ends connected by the rubber band.
7. Blue tac bottle cap or attach a plastic spoon with a rubber band to the
popsicle stick to finish your catapult.
8. Choose different firming power and see how far you can launch it
9. Get students to see if adding more sticks or changing the position of the
middle stick affects the firing power of the catapult

https://littlebinsforlittlehands.com/popsicle-stick-catapult-kids-stem-activity/?jwsource=cl

WHAT YOU NEED (per group)

  • 10 Jumbo Popsicle Sticks
  • Rubber Bands
  • Firing Power (marshmallows, pompoms, pencil top erasers)
  • Plastic Spoon (optional)
  • Bottle Cap
  • Sticky tape/blue tac (to secure bottle top to stick)

Head Coach:

  • to demo activity

Coach:

  • to assist with
    assignment and
    organisation of
    materials as well as
    management of
    students

For the HOW step 1. “You will want to use a pair of scissors to make two v notches on either side of two jumbo craft or popsicle sticks (in the same place on both sticks). Use the photos/link as a guide for where to make your notches” –  This is a great step to prep ahead of time if you are making these popsicle stick catapults with a large group of kids. Popsicle stick catapult pre prepared packs could be handed out and students simply have to assemble them after your demonstration. No mess and these can be reused again in different workshops.

REMINDER
Nobody touches materials without coaches go ahead. ‘Equipment managers’ collect materials to ensure smooth transitions
Students tidy up and help, encourage this by awarding stars for successful ‘cleansing agents’

Session 3

Static Electricity Snakes

WHAT: Students will investigate the static electricity of everyday objects

HOW
1. Place the tissue paper over the template and draw the design on to the tissue paper.
2. Cut out the snake following the lines you have traced onto the tissue paper. If you like, draw on a face and some wiggly lines with a felt tip pen.
3. Rub the plastic ruler vigorously over the wool carpet, duster or pullover, then hover the ruler over the snake’s head.
4. The snake will begin to rise off the table!
5. Charged rulers (charge by rubbing vigorously) can also be used to attract students hair and balloons

WHAT HAPPENS
When the plastic ruler is rubbed against the wool, an electrical charge is created. The tissue paper is attracted to the charge and because the tissue paper is so light, the charge is enough to lift the snake off the table.

https://familymaven.io/kidsactivities/kidsactivities/static-electricity-gravity-defying-snake-kid-science-tdXwPDN0vU6-5hB8YPO6Yw/

WHAT YOU NEED (per group)

  • tissue paper
  • plastic ruler
  • scissors
  • something made of wool such as a pullover or carpet (to produce the electricity)
  • snake template (below)
    a tin plate or tin lid (optional, see tip)

Head Coach:

  • to demo activity

Coach:

  • to assist with
    assignment and
    organisation of
    materials as well as
    management of
    students

Tip: It took quite a lot of rubbing of our plastic ruler to generate enough electrical
charge to lift our snake off the table. Placing the tissue paper snake on a tin plate or
lid can increase the attraction of the tissue paper. Static electricity activities work
best in dry conditions not when humid/damp.

Variations and extensions of activity:
Rulers can also be used to attract balloons, move water (providing there is a running tap) and move
students hair when rubbed with a variety of cloths

  • Try using a different type of paper. Will the thicker paper still lift up?
  • Decorate the snake with sequins or glitter. Will the extra weight affect how the experiment works?
  • Draw your own snake template. Does making the snake wider affect the results? What happens if you make the snake longer or shorter?

REMINDER
Nobody touches materials without coaches go ahead. ‘Equipment managers’ collect materials to ensure smooth transitions
Students tidy up and help, encourage this by awarding stars for successful ‘cleansing agents’

Magnificent Magnets

WHAT: Students will investigate the static electricity and magnetism of everyday objects

HOW
1. Students take equipment to table and place magnet underneath plastic lid as per video
2. Gently shake iron fillings on top of the lid to observe the magnetic field lines

SAFETY PRECAUTIONS: Iron filling can be very dangerous if they get into eyes, goggles should be work and students should avoid touching hands after using them. Once packed away students should wash hands to ensure iron fillings are no longer present. Ideally this activity can be done
before recess or lunch

There are various different activities students can do with a class set of magnets from drawing the field lines using a compass or messing around with iron fillings (can be messy and goggles must be worn) to simply going around a room and finding out what objects are magnetic. Students are often surprised to find that not all metals are magnetic.

This is a relatively simple and quick activity but you may be surprised to find students will be engaged with magnets for quite a while.

Create a competition by getting groups to find as many magnetic objects in the room you’re in. Get them to check surfaces, furniture, fastenings on cloths/bags, lunch boxes and water bottles etc. the list is endless!

Discuss with them if there are any surprises, were some objects not attracted to the magnet which they thought would be or vice versa.

WHAT HAPPENS
By using the iron fillings the students are observing the magnetic field that all magnets create due to their North and South pole. As the iron is a magnetic material the fillings arrange themselves almost magnetically due o the magnetic force exerted by the magnet. Magnetic fields are 3D which means they extends in all directions from the North to South pole and this can be observed by looking at the fillings from the side. All magnetic materials create a magnetic field including the Earth’s core. Discuss with children how Earth’s magnetic field is crucial for life; protecting us from harmful blasts of solar radiation, animals such as birds and sharks use it for navigation almost like a GPS in their brain!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8XNHlV6Qxg

WHAT YOU NEED (per group)

  • Class set of magnets
  • Iron fillings
  • Paper
  • Plastic lid
  • Goggles
  • OPTIONAL: Metal paperclips
  • OPTIONAL: Selection of different metals

Head Coach:

  • to demo activity

Coach:

  • to assist with
    assignment and
    organisation of
    materials as well as
    management of
    students

Variations and extension of activity

  • If you have some other magnets e.g. horseshoe or ring coaches can demonstrate at the front how the field lines differ
  • Get students to think about all the different uses of magnets in everyday life

REMINDER
Nobody touches materials without coaches go ahead. ‘Equipment managers’ collect materials to ensure smooth transitions
Students tidy up and help, encourage this by awarding stars for successful ‘cleansing agents’

Extension

Fantastic Friction

WHAT: Students will test how different materials increase/decrease the amount of friction

HOW
You would need to buy pieces of wood and have some blocks underneath to create a ramp.
Different materials such as towels, sandpaper, cotton wool, foil, carpet, bubble wrap can be attached to the ramp and students can investigate the time taken for the toy car to travel down the ramp OR the distance the toy car travels.

All of these materials can be re-used again there is no mess and all can be packed away neatly into one box for this activity.

WHAT HAPPENS
Friction is a force that holds back the movement of a sliding object.
… Friction is just that simple. You will find friction everywhere that objects
come into contact with each other. The force acts in the opposite direction to
the way an object wants to slide. The more textured materials the greater the
force of friction acting on the wheels of the toy car; this will result in a slowed
speed or smaller distance travelled by the car.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N3xdrIDwr5Q

WHAT YOU NEED (per group)

  • Toy cars
  • Ramp (see link/picture, block of wood resting on chair)
  • Friction materials (e.g. carpet, sandpaper, bubble wrap, foil, cling film, cardboard, dusters)
  • Clips (to clip materials on wood)
  • Stopwatch
  • Measuring device

Head Coach:

  • to demo activity

Coach:

  • to assist with
    assignment and
    organisation of
    materials as well as
    management of
    students

Variations and extension of activity

  • Make it into a competition; groups can predict which material will increase the friction the most by slowing the speed of the car down or reducing the distance travelled. Alternatively
    students could put a marker where they think the toy cars will travel to.
  • Students can change the incline of the ramp and see how this affects the motion of the toy
    car.
  • Coaches could place a marker and the group that gets the toy car closest to the marker wins.
    Variable that groups could consider for change are; the incline of the ramp, the position at which to release the car from, the covering material.

REMINDER
Nobody touches materials without coaches go ahead. ‘Equipment managers’ collect materials to ensure smooth transitions
Students tidy up and help, encourage this by awarding stars for successful ‘cleansing agents’

Solar System Slime

WHAT: Students will create model slime solar system

HOW

We all know how much the kids love to make slime so I thought of a Physics spin on it whereby they
use their StarTime values of collaboration and communication to make different amounts and types
of slime in order to create a model slime solar system.

Key features to note Earth is blue and green, Mars is known as the red planet.

EXAMPLES

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N3xdrIDwr5Q

WHAT YOU NEED (per group)

  • Toy cars
  • Ramp (see link/picture, block of wood resting on chair)
  • Friction materials (e.g. carpet, sandpaper, bubble wrap, foil, cling film, cardboard, dusters)
  • Clips (to clip materials on wood)
  • Stopwatch
  • Measuring device

Head Coach:

  • to demo activity

Coach:

  • to assist with
    assignment and
    organisation of
    materials as well as
    management of
    students

Students could present their models to the group explaining who did what part.

Students might not be that confident with the solar system so a laminated diagram like the one below could be handed out to help them.

REMINDER
Nobody touches materials without coaches go ahead. ‘Equipment managers’ collect materials to ensure smooth transitions
Students tidy up and help, encourage this by awarding stars for successful ‘cleansing agents’