Sample Lesson: "Water Bottle Rockets" (Part 2)Part 1: Introduction | Part 2: The Story | Part 3: Observations from the Experiment
Part 2: Jack and Jill Fall into Trouble
Once upon a time Jack and Jill were on an adventure to discover the rare and exotic purple bromeliad flower. This flower only grows in the deepest, darkest, dreariest jungles of Africa. As they were chopping their way through the thick vines, they found a gorilla hanging upside-down from a long green vine. The gorilla was chomping on a very large apple while reading an encyclopedia about Sir Isaac Newton.
“Hello Gorilla!” hollered Jack. “Isaac Newton says that every action comes complete with an opposite and equal reaction!” And, having said that, Jack gave the gorilla a mighty shove so that he was swinging back and forth.
And the gorilla, whose name happened to be Gordon, said, “And every object in motion tends to stay in motion unless . . .” and at that moment Gordon let go of the apple and it landed right on Jack’s head!
“Nice toss!” said Jill as she climbed up another vine. As Jill and Gordon were practicing swinging from tree-to-tree on the vines, Jack tied a loop in a vine and stuck his foot in the loop. This way he could dangle high in the air right in front of a giant carnivorous plant and try to make it open its mouth. Jack tried banging on it, tickling it, and he even made buzzing sounds like an insect, but it wouldn’t open its mouth. Having failed at that, Jack started eating the apple. He discovered that it had hundreds of seeds inside and was having fun trying to spit out as many seeds as far and as fast as he could. “Sput-at-tat-tat-tat-tat-ta-tat!” Each time he did this he would be gently pushed backward against the carnivorous plant. Then Jack pulled three bowling balls out of his backpack and started juggling!
When Gordon saw this he said, “Hey Jack! Throw one of those bowling balls to me!” So Jack, with a powerful heave, launched one of the bowling balls to Gordon.
Unfortunately for Jack, the carnivorous plant just happened to yawn right when he threw the bowling ball. Since every action has an equal and opposite reaction, Jack swung backward right into the carnivorous plant’s mouth! And the mouth snapped shut before Jack could even say “Jack be nimble.”
Immediately Jill swung over to the carnivorous plant and hollered, “Hey carnivorous plant, let go of my friend!”
Losing her patience, Jill said, “OK, you asked for it!” And started singing, “A thousand bottles of beer on the wall, a thousand bottles of beer, take one down, pass it around, nine hundred ninety-nine bottles of beer on the wall!”
And the carnivorous plant cried, “PLEEEEEEEEEASE! Anything but that!” and proceeded to spit Jack out into the puddle next to Gordon.
Then Gordon trudged off mumbling something about crazy humans and a need for a nap.
While all this was going on, a pair of glowering eyes watched them from the bushes. Lower down on that same bush stuck out two long curly ends of a black mustache. Yes, the Evil Mr. Fred had been following them! He was in the jungle to trap animals like lions, elephants, and rhinoceroses by luring them to fall into deep pits in the ground that he had covered over with twigs and leaves. Then he would sell the animals to people who wanted to make rugs out of their skins.
Unfortunately for Jack and Jill, they were headed straight for one of those pits. The Evil Mr. Fred rubbed his hands together gleefully when he saw them tumble in. He ran lickety-split to the edge of the pit and looked in: “Well, well, my little pretties, we’ve caught you for sure this time,” he cackled. “You just stay there while I get the cage.” Then he dashed off to get a cage to put them in.
Meanwhile down in the pit, Jack and Jill were trying to figure out a way to escape before he came back. All they had with them were their water bottles, the Magic Marker, and the flower in the large plastic bag. Suddenly the ground around them vibrated and they heard this loud noise -- KA-THUMP -- KA-THUMP -- as a herd of elephants went by. One of the young elephants fell in and nearly landed on top of Jack, who jumped out of the way just in time. They made friends with the elephant and found that his name was Sneezy because he was allergic to so many things. Jack tried standing on Sneezy’s back, but he was still at least 20 feet below the top of the pit. They were getting hungry and there was nothing to eat. Jill took the flower out of the bag to offer it to the elephant. But as soon as she opened the bag he began to sneeze violently. That gave Jack and Jill an idea to help them escape.
If you were Jack or Jill, what would you do to escape?
At this point, we allow the students to suggest some possible answers to this question, but we don’t tell them whether their answers are right or wrong. Then they perform the experiment, which involves partially filling a plastic bottle with water, putting a cork in it, and pumping air into it with a bicycle pump until the bottle pops its cork and launches into the air.
|Join our email list to receive announcements of future classes, programs, and videos.|