Subjects: Engineering | Duration: 35-40 mins | Level: Beginner
Source: Toys from Trash by Arvind Gupta http://www.arvindguptatoys.com/toys/hovercraft.html
This lesson is supposed to allow kids to learn about how air pressure can cause objects to move due to thrust. The goal of this lesson plan is the have students iterate different versions of a hovercraft to see the relationship between force, air pressure and area.
The initial lesson is only made to use a CD as the body of the hovercraft btu it is suggested to use other disk like objects of different areas such as a vinyl or a mini disk or cardboard circle to be able to see the relationship between the area, pressure and force and understand why for some materials the hovercraft works and others it doesn't.
To introduce the lesson start by introducing the idea of Newton’s third law of motion. You can use the following youtube video to help explain the concept. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVAxASr0iUY (0:00 - 2:00).
Show the Arvind Gupta video to demonstrate how he constructs the hovercraft from low cost materials https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_cYIyY6Hel8.
Take the CD and measure its radius and calculate its area.
Make a small hole in the cap of the film box using the needle and make a larger hole for the at the bottom of the fimo box, large enough to fit the pen cap.
Glue the film box onto the CD such that the small hole is glued flat at the center of the CD.
Insert the pen lid into the large hole of the film box.
Attach an inflated balloon to the head of the pen and tie a rubber band around the neck of the balloon so that it stays attached to the body of the hovercraft. Make sure to hold the neck of the balloon to stop air from escaping.
Release the neck of the balloon and gently push the hovercraft to allow it to move in a given direction.