Page 1

Scientific Method Experiments


Index Airplanes

3

Mystery Boxes

6

What Material Makes Good Swimsuits?

7

What Material Makes the Best Lampshade?

8

Supply List

9

References

10

Children’s Literature

11

Notes

12


Airplanes

Index

The scientific method is a structured way of solving scientific problems. This experiment will allow the students to experience the scientific method first hand. Students will make airplanes and conduct experiments to improve the flight distance of their planes. The Steps of the Scientific Method Define the problem. Develop a hypothesis Design an experiment Collect data and make observations Analyze data and results Report findings

Materials

Styrofoam meat plate, size 4S Paperclips of different sizes Coins Tape Scissors Ruler

What To Do

Cut curved edge from the meat tray. Cut the largest possible square from the remaining Styrofoam sheet. Find the center point of one side of the square. Draw a straight line from the center of one side of the square to corner of the opposite side. Draw a straight line from the center to the other corner that is opposite the center point. This should have produced an isosceles triangle. Cut out this triangle with the scissors. Cut it out carefully so that the remaining pieces of Styrofoam will be two small triangles. One of these will be used as a rudder. (see the figure below)

Find the center point of the shortest side of the triangle. Cut a slot in the center of the triangle that extends about one third of the distance from the center of the short side towards the center point opposite the short side. The slot should be as wide as the Styrofoam is thick. (see figure above) Cut a small slit in the rudder triangle that is not quite to the midpoint of the triangle and parallel to the longest side of the triangle. (see the figure below) Cut the front of the rudder off at an angle. (see the figure below)


Push the newly made rudder into the slot on the plane. (Tape it to the plane if it is loose.) To create elevator flaps on the back of the main body of the plane cut a small one centimeter long slit one centimeter from and parallel to the rudder on each side. Fold the back of your plane up along that slit, creating flaps on the back of the wings that are perpendicular to the rudder piece. Try flying the plane. Measure the distance the plane flies. Develop a hypothesis about what change could be made to the plane to increase its flying distance. Change the plane as described in the hypothesis. Fly the plane and record the flight distance. Continue to experiment with the plane, making and testing only one change at a time, until a satisfactory flight distance is reached.

Improving the Performance of Each Plane

The plane should be as symmetrical from side-to-side as possible. If one wing is larger than the other is the plane will never fly very smoothly. Adding weight will change the center of gravity of the plane and will drastically change its flight. The addition of a paper clip to the front end shifts the center of gravity toward the front of the plane and usually improves the flight distance. If the plane flies quickly to the ground, then the nose of plane is too heavy. To help lift the plane fold the elevator flaps up more or remove some of the weight from the nose of the plane.

Questions

1. How far did the original plane fly? 2. What changes were made to improve the flight distance of the plane? Which change was most effective? 3. Why did the changes need to be tested one at a time? 4. What was the best flight distance?

Extension

How Do Airplanes Fly? A force is a push or a pull. Forces are very important in motion because objects do not start moving on their own, they need a force to make them move. For example, you apply a force to a soccer ball when you kick it. The four forces involved in the motion of an airplane are lift, gravity, thrust and drag. Gravity pulls the plane down toward the earth. Thrust is the force provided by the airplane engine. This force pushes the airplane forward through the air. Drag is a force that causes the plane to slow down. The air rubbing against the plane slows it down. Lift is the force that allows the plane to move up. If the lift force is greater than the force of gravity then the plane goes up. Lift is caused by a difference in pressure when there is more flow on one side of an object than another; this is Bernoulli’s Principal. Experiments to demonstate lift: Hold a piece of paper between your two hands and prepare to spin the paper. Position your left hand on top and right and on bottom if you plan to spin to the right. Thumbs should be pointed in the direction of spin and pointed slightly toward the ceiling. As you begin to spin drop the hand on the bottom. The paper will stay in the air because of the applied lift force (The Science Explorer). Hold a spoon by the handle so that the bowl of the spoon slowly comes in contact with a flowing stream of water from a faucet. Notice what happens as the water flow is increased. There is flow on the water side of the spoon and no flow on the air side. The pressure is lower on the water side so the spoon is moved into the water. (Super Flyers).


Controls on an Airplane On the tail end of the plane are elevators, which are flying controls to bring up the nose of the plane. The rudder controls whether the plane moves right or left.

Source

“Super Flyers” Neil Francis, Addison, Wesley, Publishing Company, Inc., 1988. ISBN: 0-201-14933-8. “The Science Explorer.” Pat Murphy, Ellen Klages, Linda, Shores, and The Exploratorium, Henry Holt and Co., 1996. “Kids Paper Airplane Book.” Ken Blackburn, Workman Publishing, 1996, ISBN: 0-7611-04878-X “The World Record Paper Airplane Book.” Ken Blackburn, Jeff Lammers, New York: Workman, 1994. “Paper Action Toys.” E. R. Churchill, New York: Sterling, 1994. “Skybusters.” C. Morris, New York: Scholastic, 1990. “Paper Airplanes to Make and Fly.” J. Razzi, New York: Scholastic, 1990. “How We Made the First Flight” (Wright brothers), http://aeroweb.brooklyn.cuny.edu/history/wright/wright. html . The work of Orville Wright is described and it contains his accounts about the first trials and flight of the Wright brothers’ airplane. © S. Olesik, WOW Project, Ohio State University, 2000.


Mystery Boxes

Index

The scientific method is a structured way of solving scientific problems. This experiment will allow the students to experience the scientific method first hand. Students will use the scientific method to describe the mystery item in each box. The Steps of the Scientific Method Define the problem. Develop a hypothesis. Design an experiment. Collect data and make observations. Analyze data and results. Report findings.

Materials

Empty shoe boxes Rubber bands Several items such as: Water balloon Tennis ball Pinecone Toy car Peanut Bean bag

What To Do

Prepare the mystery boxes by placing one item in each box and placing a rubber band around the box to prevent peeking. Let the children work in small groups with one box at a time. By manipulating the box, by lifting, tilting and rotating it, the groups can collect information about the object inside without seeing it. Without opening the boxes students should be able to describe the weight of the object, shape, texture, size, and more. Help the students collect and record descriptions of the mystery objects. This is the scientific process of developing a model. Try to concentrate on describing what is known about the object from the manipulations and try to avoid making guesses of what the object is. After each group has described the mystery object in their box and developed a model, pass the boxes around to the other groups and repeat the above process. At the end of the activity open the boxes and compare the objects inside to the descriptions developed by the students.

Questions

1. Why do scientists use the scientific method? 2. How was the scientific method used to describe the items in the mystery boxes? 3. How well did the mystery object descriptions describe the actual objects?

Source

Mary Bailey, OSU Chemistry Lecture Demonstrator Š S. Olesik, WOW Project, Ohio State University, 1999.


What Materials Makes Good Swimsuits?

Index

The scientific method is a structured way of solving scientific problems. This experiment will allow the students to experience the scientific method first hand in their search for the ideal lampshade material. The process involves: Define the Problem or Question Develop a hypothesis Design an experiment Make observations and collect data Analyze the data Report findings or conclusion

Materials

5-6 triple beam balances or scales 5-6 rulers Pieces of different types of cloth approximately the same size

What To Do

The students form groups of 4 - 5 students. Ask them to make a list of questions that they need to answer to determine which material will be the best swimsuit material. Next ask them to write a prediction of what will be the best swimsuit material. Ask them to design an experiment based on the use of a triple-beam balance and a ruler to test their prediction. Do the experiment. Collect results of experiment. Based on the experiment - Report to Class which cloth makes the best swimsuit material.

Questions

1. How did the use of the scientific method help solve the problem? 2. Are there other experiments that should follow the ones initially tried?

Summary

The scientific method is an organized path that allows science to move forward and allows the most to be learned in a small amount of time. Discuss other experiments that might be useful to determine the best swimsuit material. Š S. Olesik, WOW Project, Ohio State University, 2002.


What Material Makes the Best Lampshade?

Index

The scientific method is a structured way of solving scientific problems. This experiment will allow the students to experience the scientific method first hand in their search for the ideal lampshade material. The process involves: Define the Problem or Question Develop a hypothesis Design an experiment Make observations and collect data Analyze the data Report findings or conclusion

Materials

Light source (Low wattage (~25 W) light bulbs on stands) Opaque lampshade possibilities (heavy black cloth, baking sheet, piece of wood, cardboard, etc.) Translucent lampshade possibilities (paper, wax paper, light cloth, etc.) Transparent lampshade possibilities (clear plastic wrap, glass jar, plexi-glass, etc.) An actual lampshade

What To Do

Prepare work areas for many small groups of students, each including an uncovered low wattage light bulb and a set of opaque, translucent and transparent materials. Be sure that the test material sets are identical for each group. Show students the lamp. Turn on the light then cover the light bulb with the lampshade. Discuss with students the uses and qualities of lampshades. Ask the students to test the variety of materials in front of them to determine what is the best lampshade material. Let them design their own experiments, help them collect (and record) data, and assist them as they clarify their thoughts as drawing to a conclusion, but let them be the active scientists! After each group has tested all the materials and decided upon an ideal lampshade material discuss as a class the findings from each of the small groups. Discuss the students used the scientific method. Help them see the steps they already knew how to do. Remind them that they are indeed real scientists!

Questions

1. What did students do to determine which was the ideal lampshade material? 2. Did they test each material before deciding which was the best? 3. Did each group choose the same material? Why or why not?

Summary

The scientific method outlines the steps one uses in solving scientific problems. The same process is used to answer many questions, even ones like “What material makes the best lampshade?� Children naturally act as scientists as they explore the world around them, often using the scientific method without even realizing it. As students are presented with the problem of finding the best material for making a lampshade they begin walking through the steps. First, they make a prediction about which material will be the best. They may shout out this thought or simply choose that material to try first. Then, without realizing that they are designing a scientific experiment, they will set up a method for testing the materials. With each test they will collect data, even if they are not recording it in a lab notebook, and that information will be analyzed and used in a conclusion. This activity helps children become more conscious of their scientific abilities.

Source

Š S. Olesik, WOW Project, Ohio State University, 2002.


Supply List Airplanes

Styrofoam meat plate, size 4S Paperclips of different sizes Coins Tape Scissors Ruler

Mystery Boxes

Empty shoe boxes Rubber bands Several items such as: Water balloon Tennis ball Pinecone Toy car Peanut Bean bag

What Material Makes Good Swimsuits? 5-6 triple beam balances or scales 5-6 rulers Pieces of different types of cloth approximately the same size

What Material Makes the Best Lampshade?

Light source (Low wattage (~25 W) light bulbs on stands) Opaque lampshade possibilities (heavy black cloth, baking sheet, piece of wood, cardboard, etc.) Translucent lampshade possibilities (paper, wax paper, light cloth, etc.) Transparent lampshade possibilities (clear plastic wrap, glass jar, plexi-glass, etc.) An actual lampshade

Index


References

Index

“Super Flyers” Neil Francis, Addison, Wesley, Publishing Company, Inc., 1988. ISBN: 0-201-14933-8 “The Science Explorer.” Pat Murphy, Ellen Klages, Linda, Shores, and The Exploratorium, Henry Holt and Co., 1996. “Kids Paper Airplane Book.” Ken Blackburn, Workman Publishing, 1996, ISBN: 0-7611-04878-X “The World Record Paper Airplane Book.” Ken Blackburn, Jeff Lammers, New York: Workman, 1994. “Paper Action Toys.” E. R. Churchill, New York: Sterling, 1994. “Skybusters.” C. Morris, New York: Scholastic, 1990. “Paper Airplanes to Make and Fly.” J. Razzi, New York: Scholastic, 1990. “How

We Made the First Flight” (Wright brothers), http://aeroweb.brooklyn.cuny. edu/history/wright/wright.html . The work of Orville Wright is described and it contains his accounts about the first trials and flight of the Wright brothers’ airplane.

“Best of Wonder Science.” Delmar Publishers, Albany, 1997. ISBN 0-8273-8094-1 “Science for Children: A Book for Teachers.” Willard J. Jacobson and Abbey Barry Bergman, Prentice Hall: Englewood Cliffs. Mary Bailey, OSU Chemistry Lecture Demonstrator.


Children’s Literature

Index

“How to Think Like a Scientist: Answering Questions By the Scientific Method.” By Stephen Kramer. ISBN 0-6900-4565-4. “Measuring Penny.” By Loreen Leedy, illustrated by the author. Henry Holt and Company: New York, 1997. ISBN 0-8050-5360-3. “Bill Nye the Science Guy’s Big Blast of Science.” By Bill Nye. ISBN 0-2016-0864-2. “Bill Nye the Science Guy’s Consider the Following: A Way Cool Set of Science Questions, Answers, and Ideas to Ponder.” By Bill Nye. ISBN 0-7868-1443-8.


Notes

Index

There are currently no notes on this unit. If you have suggestions or changes to make on the experiments or units, please email us! Our address is wow@chemistry.ohio-state.edu. Š S. Olesik, WOW Project, Ohio State University, 2002.

Copyright Š 2002-2010 by S.Olesik, Wonders of Our World Project (WOW), the Ohio State University. Permission to make digital or hard copies of portions of this work for personal or classroom use is granted without fee provided that the copies are not made or distributed for profit or commercial advantage and that copies bear this notice and the full citation on the first page in print or the first screen in digital media. Abstracting with credit is permitted.

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Scientific Method Experiments 10 11 References Supply List 3 6 7 8 9 What Material Makes the Best Lampshade? What Material Makes Good Swimsu...

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