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What is HomeScouting?

HomeScouting was created by the Buckeye Council, Boy Scouts of America in Canton, OH. HomeScouting is designed to offer virtual programs across the country and around the world. In March 2020, HomeScouting launched its first program and evolved to serve over 30,000 youth and their families in all 50 states and across the world in 10 countries.

 

Build A Straw Rocket

Straw Rockets are an excellent opportunity for youth to practice the engineering design process. This activity provides a template that creates a rocket that can be launched from a soda straw. Challenge yourself to modify the design to see how the changes impact the rocket performance. Length, fin shape or angle can be changed–one variable at a time–to see how the rocket launch performs, and compares to the control design.

MATERIALS NEEDED

PROCEDURE

  1. Carefully cut out the large rectangle on the rocket template. This will be the body of the rocket. Then wrap the rocket body around a pencil length-wise and tape it closed to form a tube.
     

  2. Carefully cut out the two fin units. Align the rectangle in the middle of the fin with the end of the rocket body, and tape it to the rocket body. Nothing should stick out past the bottom of the rocket body.
     

  3. Do the same thing for the other fin, but tape it on the other side of the pencil to make a “fin sandwich.”
     

  4. Bend the part of the fin that looks like a triangle 90 degrees so that each fin is at a right angle to its neighbor. Looking at the bottom of the rocket, the fins should look like a +.
     

  5. Twist and pinch the top of the rocket body around the tip of the pencil to create a "nose cone" for the rocket. Tape the nose cone to prevent air from escaping and to keep it from untwisting.
     

  6. Measure the nose cone from its base (right where it starts to narrow) to its tip, and record the length in their data log and on the rocket itself. (Once completed, the rocket will be about 13 cm (about 5 in) tall.
     

  7. Remove the pencil and replace it with the soda straw.
     

  8. In the designated launch area, away from people and other hazards, blow into the straw to launch your rocket.
     

  9. Use the meter stick/yard stick/measuring tape to measure the distance it travels, then record the distance on your data log.
     

  10. Can you make your rocket fly farther? Make new rockets by altering the template. Try different rocket lengths, fin shapes, fin sizes, or fin angles. Repeat steps 6 and 9 for every launch, recording each design change and distance in your data log. Make only one change at a time, so you will know which design changes result in changes in performance.

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BACKGROUND

Modern rocket design began near the beginning of the 20th century. While much has been learned and rockets have grown larger and more powerful, rocket designs are still improving. Engineers developing new rockets must control variables and consider failure points when improving rocket designs. By changing one variable at a time, engineers can determine if that change leads to an increase or decrease in performance. They must also consider how their design might fail, and work to improve their design. These incremental changes allow engineers to improve rocket performance and increase the amount of mass they can lift into space.

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Build A Marshmallow Catapult

Defense engineers develop items that assist in protecting our country. Around 400 BC, defense engineers in Greece developed catapults to shoot projectiles long distances. You can build a simple machine with craft sticks to launch marshmallows!

Every object on earth has potential energy. That means it COULD move even if it isn't right now. When an object IS moving it has kinetic energy. For this experiment, you are going to store energy in a spring. That spring will have the potential to move, but it won't move until you let it move. The catapult you make is going to transfer energy from the spring to a marshmallow. The marshmallow will have potential energy until the catapult releases, then the marshmallow will have kinetic energy as it flies through the air.

Projectile motion is the motion of an object thrown or projected into the air, subject to only the acceleration of gravity. The object is called a projectile, and its path is called its trajectory. The motion of falling objects is a simple one-dimensional type of projectile motion in which there is no horizontal movement. Today you can complete a two-dimensional projectile motion experiment, such as that of a football or other object for which air resistance is negligible. After creating your marshmallow catapult, design your own hands on experiment to demonstrate projectile motion!

 

Points to consider:

  • Keep track of your experimental data for every attempt. Include the angle of launch and the distance projected.

  • Make sure you apply the same force each time, perhaps by using a weight to launch the marshmallow.

  • Try launching items other than marshmallows, which fly the furthest? 

Materials Needed:

  • 9 craft sticks. Popsicle sticks may work, but wider sticks are much better.

  • 4-6 rubber bands

  • 1 plastic spoon

  • Marshmallows

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Procedure:​

  1. Take 7 of the craft sticks and tie a rubber band tightly around one end.
     

  2. Tie another rubber band tightly around the opposite end so all 7 sticks are bound together.
     

  3. Take the remaining 2 sticks and tie a rubber band on one of the ends. Try to tie the band close to the edge of the sticks.
     

  4. Insert the 7 sticks banded together through the 2 stick bundle.
     

  5. Tie a rubber band in a cross fashion joining the two pieces. The closer the 7 stick bundle gets to the edge, the more leverage the catapult will have.
     

  6. Use a few rubber bands and attach the plastic spoon on the end.

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Watch Jenna Briggs, a Buckeye Council volunteer and parent show us how to make a marshmallow catapult! 

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Other Cub Scouts making marshmallow catapults!

Share your free trial photos by tagging @BuckeyeCouncil on Facebook/Instagram or using #HomeScouting or #BuckeyeCouncil on Instagram