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Science on the Move: One if By Land, Two if By Sea

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Paper airplanes are popular for all ages, and in my house we're continually at work testing new models or trying to memorize the steps of favorite, tried-and-true designs like the Nakamura Lock. Moving outside, however, opens up aerodynamic and hyrdrodynamic exploration even more, making these kinds of hands-on science projects perfect for summer days at the park, near a small stream, or poolside.


Here are a few projects suitable for all ages, with parental guidance and assistance, to try this summer:

Planes:
Paper airplanes offer endless variety for exploring aerodynamic principles, but you can take your flight dynamics to new heights when you add a bit of glue and build thicker and sturdier planes... layer by layer. If you've assembled a balsa wood glider, you'll see similarities in design as you begin modeling your own laminated planes and testing flight patterns to see which features add stability, flight duration, or distance.
What Makes a Good Aerodynamic Design? can help get you started thinking about assembly and designing your trials. (Difficulty 5-7)

Boats:
Switching to water and hydrodynamics, milk cartons put boat design on the radar—and float some recyclables! After watching a PBS DragonFly video, roll up your sleeves, rinse out some empty milk cartons, and find out which features best float your boat. In the Milk Does Your Body and a Boat Good—Design Your Own Milk Carton Boat project, create and test a variety of boat designs, ranging from a simple raft to a boat with a V-shaped hull. (Difficulty: 3)


Hovercrafts:
To switch things up even more, give the science of hovercrafts a whirl! How Does a Hovercraft Work? will walk you through constructing your own small balloon-powered hovercraft from readily available materials: a CD, a recycled bottle, and a balloon. As you might guess, how big you blow up the balloon will be a key factor in the performance of your hovercraft! No water is required, but you might try this one poolside! (Difficulty: 1)

Science Buddies Science Activities

Science Buddies Summer Science Roundup


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Visual illusions and other optical puzzles are fun for families to share and explore. With hands-on science projects and activities, students can create and test their own visual illusions--including a cool infinity mirror!

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School and family science weekly spotlight: the science of marinades

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A fun SimCity science project from Science Buddies helps turn in-game city planning into a science experiment, one students can also use to enter the annual Future City competition.

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What do gears and tires have to do with who wins a race—or how long it takes to ride to the corner store? Find out with hands-on sports science projects that help tie science to the sports kids love to do and watch.

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When you combine your circuitry know-how with fabric, you can, literally, wear your electronics on your sleeve. Students experiment with e-textiles.

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What variables make a game popular with players, and do boys and girls choose different types of games? Design a survey-based science project this summer and do some statistical analysis of the data you gather. Your results might be eye...



Your Science!
What will you explore for your science project this year? What is your favorite classroom science activity? Email us a short (one to three sentences) summary of your science project or teaching tip. You might end up featured in an upcoming Science Buddies newsletter!



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