This is a great summertime adventure!
We started with choosing 2 Air Experiments- (Comparing variations in the shape of wings through the air, and Variations in the Volume of Air)
- A. Make a paper airplane and fly it five times. Try to make it fly farther by altering its shape. Fly it at least five more times to see if your changes were effective. This makes a great gathering activity. We had fun comparing completely different shapes of airplanes. I would recommend having airplanes all folded that the boys can color and write their names on. Then they can really focus on the adjusting the shape of the plane rather than getting burnt out on the folding part. Finally, hope a windstorm doesn't kick up at exactly the time you want to test the planes like happened to us! If it does, you'll have to fly the planes indoors and that is a bit chaotic!
B. Make a balloon-powered sled- I bought balloons for sleds, but then realized with my special needs den they wouldn't be able to blow up the balloons, so we improvised and used stomp rockets to accomplish the same experiment. Instead of varying the size of the balloon, we varied the size of the bottle on the stomp rocket. I'm not sure this variation counts so we did C as well just to be sure. The rockets took too long to make. A den leader in another pack told me she always has the rockets pre-made and the boys just decorate. I think that is a good idea since the focus here is experimenting with air, not rocket building.
building the launcher we used 16oz, 2 liter, and 3 liter bottle attachments rocket is just over the roof in this picture pretty good air for just a little bottle!
- C. Bounce a basketball that doesn’t have enough air in it. Then bounce one that has the right amount of air in it. Do each one 10 times. Describe how the ball bounces differently when the amount of air changes. I had the balls sitting inside my house as the boys arrived and they just automatically started bouncing them when they walked in. This experiement is easy to do with boys.
Bonus: For treats we made popcorn using a hot air popper.
Air and Sound Experiment and a Fun Air Activity
- For the gathering we launched rockets a few more times and bounced balls. Repeating requirements is good in the summer because someone is gone every den meeting and it helps more boys earn the badge.
C. With an adult, conduct an investigation on how speed can affect sound.
I made a simple bull roars with string taped to a wide craft stick and then let the boys swing them.
E. With your den participate in a rain gutter regatta. Explain how air helps the vehicle move.
We made boats with pool noodles, shish kabob sticks, and foam sails. At first we tried using straws for the mast instead of shish kabob sticks and that did not work well. We did our boat races fairly quickly and then played in the water the rest of the den meeting. I warned the boys before den meeting that there would be water and they might get wet. You can make rain gutters with tin foil. You can also put one of the tin foil river rain gutters on a hill and let the boys play with floating things down stream.