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Hovercraft Activity

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Hovercrafts Aren't Just Science Friction Activity (continued) Expected Results: Results may vary based on materials used, setup, procedure, and other factors, however, here is an example on what to expect: • As the pressurized air is expelled from the balloon, the hovercraft will glide effortlessly across the table or floor surface. As the air comes out of the balloon, it spreads out and creates a cushion of air between the bottom of the CD and the surface. The hovercraft isn't actually touching the table but floating just above it on a cushion of air! • The airflow created by the balloon lifts the CD and reduces the friction, which allows the disc to hover freely. Large-scale hovercraft can travel over land, snow, and water. Follow Up: • Have students try their hovercraft on different surfaces (sidewalk, tile floor, carpet, grass, etc.). On which surfaces does the craft work and on which doesn't it work? Why? • Have students investigate how much mass their craft can lift. • Small paper clips have an approximate mass of 2 grams. How many paper clips (or metal washers, pennies, etc.) can their craft hold and still move across a tabletop? Teaching Notes: Questions and observations for students: By building a tabletop hovercraft, students explore the fundamental scientific principles behind gravity, air resistance, and friction. 1. How can two surfaces have no friction between them? 2. How do Newton's laws of motion control the movement of the hovercraft? 3. Does the size of the balloon affect the CD's ability to hover? 4. Does a helium balloon work better than an air-filled balloon? 5. Do larger discs make better hovercrafts (plastic picnic plates, old record albums)? 6. How well does the hovercraft racer slide when the balloon is out of air? 7. How well does the hovercraft racer slide over rough surfaces, such as a carpeted floor? Why do you think that is? Disposal/Clean-up: – Clean and handle the glue gun according to the manufacturer's instructions. Dispose of all waste material. + ward ' s science 5100 West Henrietta Road • PO Box 92912 • Rochester, New York 14692-9012 • p: 800 962-2660 • wardsci.com Find materials for this activity at wardsci.com. Discover more free activities at wardsworld.wardsci.com

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