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Impact II: Projects & Lesson Plans: Blasting Off With Math, Science and Technology

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. 

THE STUDENTS
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. 

THE STAFF
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 University. 

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. 

OVERALL VALUE
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.

CURRICULUM AREAS
Math

Science
Technology

GRADES
Grades 5-6

MORE INFORMATION  

Joseph M. Sweeney
Kathryn Phelan Elementary
P.S. 11, Q.
54-25 Skillman Avenue
Woodside, NY 11377
josephmsweeney@msn.com
Principal:
 Dr. Vivian
Anemoyanis

IMPACT II Catalog 2001-2002

 

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