CSWs adapt to rainy days in California

After years of drought in California we have grown used to clears skies and sunny days perfect for launching rockets. Over the past months weather changes have filled the skies with much needed rain and halted our rocket science fun. Kids and Staff have had to adapt projects by applying the engineering design process and their 21st Century skills creating new designs and growing their projects list.

A timeless favorite, Air rockets are designed and constructed with recycled paper and tape and launched by compressed air held within the pvc air chamber connected to the rocket launcher. Outside space limitation was not a problem with rockets going far above 20 meters high and 50 meters in distance, but the rain would destroy the paper rockets. Staff and kids began to wonder how to launch rockets inside. A need to change the launching axis from vertical to horizontal required an adaption to the rocket body.

How do you control a paper rocket moving horizontally through a shop?

Kids looked back at projects such as ballon cars designed light enough to be powered by air, with bodies made of recycled cardboard, straws and dowel axels, and bottle cap wheels.  Balloon cars introduced air power as an alternative source of energy capable of powering their cars. Using air power gave rise to new limitations since acceleration, velocity and distance are directly proportional  to the volume of air contained by the balloon, meaning the car could only move as fast and as far as the air inside the balloon could propel it.

How do you make a car propel faster and further with air power?

Learn how to make a Balloon Car

Kids discovered that the limitations and advantages from each  project could compliment each other. Merging the two projects could provide a way to control a paper rocket and more power to move a car using wind power . By combining and redesigning these two projects a new rainy day favorite project came to life: Rocket Cars! capable of traveling over 15m!

If you would like to learn how to to make this and other projects check out our project database.

Have any questions or comments contact:

Jose Sandoval, CSW Program Specialist

email: jose@cswnetwork.org

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