Hovercraft (last update August 2016)

This contest has student make hovercrafts from CD's and LP's. A rubber stopper is hot glued onto the disk and balloons are attached to the stopper and filled with air to provide an air cushion. The hovercraft are released from the top of a ramp and the winner is the one that goes the farthest.The best ones are able to glide for over 30 m from a one m drop. It is a surprisingly complicated problem with many variables that are interconnected.

Curriculum Connections: this contest uses concepts such as gravity, friction, air resistance, energy, momentum and pressure. It fits in well with grade11 Physics (Dynamics) amd grade 12 Physics (Energy and Monemtum).

Timing: They activity could be made simpler and explored in just a day or two. It can also last up to 12 days in an engineerign design course.

Materials, Tools and Building Skills: The materials, tools and building skills are minimal. You will need; old LP'S and CD's, rubber stoppers with one hole, hot glue gun, balloons, masking tape, a long board for a ramp (~.5 m by 2 m) and lots of old batteries to use as weights.

Day 1: Plexiglas Hovercraft: The students look at disk thickness, radius and balloon size.! Worksheet for students

Day 2: LP's vs. CD's: Students look at two common disc materials and the effect of layering. Worksheet for students

Day 3: Mass: Students learn howadding mass to the disc affects th distance. look at real hovercrafts. Worksheet for students

Day 4: Mass and Weight: Students look at soem jey terms and real hovercraft. Worksheet for students.

Day 5: Force and Pressure: Students learn how force and pressure are different. Worksheet for students

Day 6: Friction: Students learn about how the coefficient of friction and normal force affect friction - but area doesn't.Worksheet for students

Day 7, 8, 9, 10: Contests: Each day students work with a new partner to apply their understanding to make the best hovercraft for that day. The first two classes use CD's and the second two use LP's. Each class also includes a short writing and thinking exercise to get students to write answers that are Correct, Complete, Concise and Clear about some important ideas for success in the contests. The wrting exercises are CCCC less friction, CCCC double balloon, CCCCAmount of air and CCCC LP Strategy.

Day 11 and 12: Review: Extended response Questions and Mulitple Choice Questions