Rockets and My Choice were the two final summer science programs I ran for school age children. The rocket launcher was incredibly easy to build. It was a huge hit at both the library and when I went camping with another family. I am going to use it with my Girl Scouts at some point this year – probably at our fall camp out.
I use used the Paper Stomp Rocket tutorial from Instructables. It cost less than $15 for materials (including the pvc glue), and took about 15 minutes to build. I used an electric saw as opposed to a hand saw, so that probably helped keep the building time down. When prepping the pvc pieces used as a forming tubes, only wrap one layer of tape around the tube. Any more than that, and the rockets will be too loose. I also didn’t glue the bottle cap into the bushing/coupling (the library’s hot glue gun didn’t work). It turned out not to be a problem. In order to keep the bottle set in the bushing/coupling, I placed a small rock under it. Worked like a champ. It is important to have a TON of 2 liter bottles. One, even two, are not enough as they get mangled fairly quickly.
I did three activities for the final program:
- Film canister rockets
- Heat sensitive color changing slime
- (I cannot remember for the life of me, nor can my director remember for the life of her.)
1. Film Canister Rockets – This idea came from a Girl Scout badge I did with my troop. It is very simple, inexpensive, and a lot of fun. Someday I would like to do the rockets as night, turning them into tracers with glowstick goop. Canisters can be purchased on Amazon. The only other two things you need are Alka-Seltzer tablets and a little bit of water. Put half a tablet in the canister, add about a tablespoon of water, pop the lid on, set it on the ground lid down, and get away. Some blow quickly, and others take a minute or two. The canisters can shoot over 15 feet into the air, so they are an outside-only activity.
2. Heat Sensitive Color Changing Slime (from Left Brain Craft Brain) – A twist on the basic slime recipe, but oh so fun. I bought red and green thermochromic powder from Glomania. We did several color combinations:
yellow liquid watercolor + red powder (the yellow stays fairly true)
blue liquid watercolor + green powderyellow liquid watercolor + green powder (the yellow ends up being more of a snot green)
blue liquid watercolor + red powder