Blasting Off With Math, Science and Technology
HOW I T WORKS
Blasting Off with Math, Science and
Technology is an interdisciplinary program that
enables fifth-grade students to explore math,
science, and technology principles related to
rocketry. This program provides students with
extensive investigations of concrete situations,
materials, and resources. The program also
motivates students to understand math,
physical science, and technology concepts through
hands-on experiences using CD- ROMs, the Internet, and rocket-science kits in their learning
environment. The students are introduced to the program
by researching the history of flight and the
impact that flight inventions have had on the
human race. Using http://spaceboy.nas, students
explore concepts regarding Newton’s Laws, lift-off,
and space exploration. Once the students are
familiar with the history and rocketry
concepts, they integrate this information into their
hands-on activities. Students make balloon
rockets with straws, strings, and protractors in the classroom in
order to understand Newton’s Laws and
measurement and geometry concepts. In the
second activity, they design and launch film canister
rockets in order to investigate the effects on
varying the amount of fuel (fizzing antacid
tablets). They observe and collect data to see
whether there is a difference in time from fuel
ignition to landing. Fractions, number sense
patterns, measurement, Newton’s Laws, gravity,
and lift thrust are investigated during this activity.
In the last activity, students apply what they
have learned and transform an ordinary 16-oz.
soft-drink bottle into a high-flying rocket. They
develop templates for fins, a nose cone, body
tube, and string; complete the design of the
rocket; and experience the thrill of launching it
towards the stratosphere.
Approximately 35 fifth-grade students
participate in this program. Blasting Off with Math,
Science and Technology can be adapted to any
size group. Achievement level is not a
qualification for successful program completion.
Joseph M. Sweeney developed and has
implemented this program for the past five years. He
has won the Disney Channel Award in
Education, the Reader’s Digest American Teacher
Hero In Education Award, and was the District
30 Teacher of the Year in 1992. Mr. Sweeney is
also an adjunct professor of education at Adelphi
WHAT YOU NEED
This program uses a variety of resources, including taped videos from
PBS and the Discovery Channel, science books, and science
kits. Rockets Away and Experimenting with Model Rockets provide the
students with a visual guide to the history and design of rockets .
A computer and Internet access will allow students
and teachers to explore web pages related to
rockets and space exploration, such as www.nasa.gov. Print resources that are helpful
include lesson plans related to this program.
The lesson plans include math, science, and
Internet activities for the students.
N.Y.S. Standards in Mathematics, Science, and
Technology are addressed in this program. Specifically, Standards (1,1), (1,2), (2,3),
(4,5), and (5,3) are implemented throughout this pro-gram.
Blasting Off With Math, Science, and Technology encourages students to confront
their own preconceptions related to math,
physical science, and technology, and work towards
a conceptual change using numerous resources. Students become effective learners
as they acquire, demonstrate, recognize, and
develop a respect for space exploration and its
benefits to mankind, which in turn impacts on
their test scores and self-esteem.