This is a great summertime adventure!
Den Meeting #1
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/sleds pre-made and the boys just decorate. I think that is a good idea since the focus here is experimenting with air volume.
My boys building the launcher with pipe found in our garage and bottles from the recycling bin we used 16oz, 2 liter, and 3 liter bottle attachments the rocket is just over the roof in this picture, with the 3-liter bottle
the rockets might go so high you lose them, so do that one last.
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. I had one flat one and one filled up, so the boys didn't lose interest while I took time to let air out.
Bonus: For treats we made popcorn using a hot air popper.
1 More Air Experiment and Races Using Air Power
- For the gathering we launched rockets leftover from last week 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. Adult supervision is needed for safety.
E. With your den, participate in a rain gutter regatta. Explain how air helps the vehicle move.
Tin Foil Rain Gutter
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 tape two rain gutters made with tin foil on a table outside for the races or on flat ground. Since you have foil and water out, you can also put a tin foil river on a hill and let the boys play with floating small objects down stream. You can also fill a plastic bin with water and let the boys try sinking things.