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July SHPE Jr. Chapter Curriculum. SHPE Foundation SHPE Jr. Chapter Curriculum Hands-on Activity Training. TeachEngineering Hands-on Activity: * Hovercraft Racers! TeachEngineering Digital Library: teachengineering.org.

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shpe foundation shpe jr chapter curriculum hands on activity training

SHPE FoundationSHPE Jr. Chapter CurriculumHands-on Activity Training

TeachEngineering Hands-on Activity:

*Hovercraft Racers!

TeachEngineering Digital Library: teachengineering.org


teachengineering digital library

SHPE FoundationSHPE Jr. Chapter Curriculum Hands-On Activity Training

TeachEngineering Digital Library
  • The TeachEngineeringdigital library provides free, teacher-tested, standards-based engineering content for K-12 teachers to use in science and math classrooms.
  • Engineering lessons connect real-world experiences with curricular content already taught in K-12 classrooms.
  • Mapped to educational content standards, TeachEngineering's comprehensive curricula are hands-on, inexpensive, and relevant to children's daily lives.


general advice

SHPE Foundation SHPE Jr. Chapter Curriculum Hands-On Activity Training

General Advice
  • Be prepared! Do each activity beforehand
  • Make sure all materials are available
  • Keep students on task
  • Follow the time frame
  • Be flexible
  • Have Fun!!


hovercraft racers

SHPE Foundation SHPE Jr. Chapter Curriculum Hands-On Activity Training

Hovercraft Racers!
  • Students construct and test a simple hovercraft to gain first-hand experience on how friction affects motion.
  • Engineering focus:
    • Engineering Research/Analysis
      • Students construct and test a simple hovercraft and analyze testing results.
  • Learning objectives:
    • Understand that friction slows moving objects, but also allows them to be controlled.
    • Understand how a hovercraft moves and why it floats on a pillow of air.
    • Predict characteristics of surfaces that might influence the amount of friction.
    • Recognize that understanding how friction works helps engineers design moving objects so they can be controlled.

Full Activity on TeachEngineering

hovercraft racers1

SHPE Foundation SHPE Jr. Chapter Curriculum Hands-On Activity Training

Hovercraft Racers!
  • Suggested time: 45 minutes
  • Suggested group size: 2students/group
  • Materials
    • Each group needs:
      • 1 compact disc (CD) (Possible sources: Ask students to bring from home, used CDs from old software or free trial CDs. Or, purchase blank CDs for less than $1 each.)
      • 1 plastic bottle with a cap (such as a Coke bottle, ~16 oz. size)
      • 1 balloon
      • hot-glue gun (to be shared among groups)
      • hacksaw (to cut the top off the plastic bottle)*
      • drill (to put holes in the bottle cap)*

*Prepare plastic bottle and bottle cap prior to activity


hovercraft racers2

SHPE FoundationSHPE Jr. Chapter CurriculumHands-On Activity Training

Hovercraft Racers!

Engineering Connection (Real World Application):

  • Understanding how friction works helps engineers design moving objects so they can be controlled. Sometimes they design materials to increase the friction and other times to reduce the friction.
  • For example:
    • Snow tires may have metal studs that poke into the snow and ice, creating more friction than rubber alone.
    • Rollerblade wheels must be sticky enough for control, but not so soft that they create too much drag or wear out too fast.
    • Engineers also reduce friction between moving parts of machines so that they run smoothly and do not wear down as quickly.



hovercraft racers3

SHPE FoundationSHPE Jr. Chapter CurriculumHands-On Activity Training

Hovercraft Racers!




hovercraft racers4

SHPE FoundationSHPE Jr. Chapter CurriculumHands-On Activity Training

Hovercraft Racers!


  • Friction is a force that arises when things rub against each other.
    • Friction can slow things down and eventually make the surfaces wear down.
    • Different objects have different amount of friction when they rub together.
    • However, when surfaces do not rub against each other, there is no friction between them.
    • The best way to reduce friction between two surfaces is to arrange them so that they do not touch!.)


hovercraft racers5

SHPE FoundationSHPE Jr. Chapter CurriculumHands-On Activity Training

Hovercraft Racers!

Introduction (cont.):

  • Boat engineers and builders know that friction between a boat and water is one thing that slows the boat down. Over the years, they have been figuring out ways to design boats so that they do not touch water very much, but still float.
    • In 1877, a British engineer named Sir. John Thornycroft patented a method to design boats to ride on a cushion of air. Basically, his method was to use a large fan powered by a motor to force air down under the craft. Eventually, the air pressure was large enough to lift the vehicle off the surface. Engineers took this idea and built upon it, designing "flying boats" and other airplanes that can lift off of a water surface.
    • Finally, in the early 1950s, British, American and Swiss engineers began to think of new ways to use Sir Thornycroft's air cushion idea. In 1955, a British man named Christopher Cockerell tested a new kind of craft and patented his idea for the first real hovercraft — a vehicle that can travel on a cushion of air over water, ice, dirt, pavement and other surfaces.
    • Hovercrafts are so versatile that the Ford Motor Company even made a "hovercar" called the Glideair in 1959.
    • Now, hovercrafts are used for rescue work on rapidly moving rivers and thin ice, cargo transport and ferrying work (such as across the English Channel), and by the military to transport troops and equipment from boats to the shore.
hovercraft racers6

SHPE FoundationSHPE Jr. Chapter CurriculumHands-On Activity Training

Hovercraft Racers!

Before the Activity:

  • Gather supplies: Purchase or have students bring in plastic soda or water bottles with caps and compact discs (CDs) before the activity.
  • Prepare materials:Prior to the activity, cut the top of the bottle at the neck using a hacksaw. Save the top and cap, discard the rest of the bottle. Drill 1-3 holes in each bottle cap, with a different number of holes in different caps, so that students can compare the results of hovercraft racers with different numbers of holes in the caps.



hovercraft racers7

SHPE FoundationSHPE Jr. Chapter CurriculumHands-On Activity Training

Hovercraft Racers!

Activity Procedure:

  • Discuss with students the concepts of friction. Ask what happens when you roll an object across the ground over grass vs. the sidewalk. (Answer: Object rolls farther on the smooth concrete surface.) Which is easier to ride your bike on? (Answer: Sidewalk.) Why? (Answer: There is less friction between the bike and the sidewalk vs. the bike and grass.)
  • Invite teams of two students each to pick a bottle top and cap. Have them attach a balloon to the cap, over the cut neck.
  • With volunteer supervision, have students use hot glue to attach the caps to the shiny side of their compact discs, with the holes in the caps centered over the holes in the middle of the CDs. Be sure to use enough hot glue to completely seal the space between the cap and the CD.
  • Once the hot glue cools, have students blow up their balloon through the bottle tops, then pinch the neck so that air does not escape while they screw the top into their cap, which is attached to the compact disc.
  • Place the hovercraft racer on a smooth, flat surface and release the neck of the balloon, allowing air to escape. Tap the side of the hovercraft racer, and see how it glides over the surface! To gather comparison data on the different hovercraft versions, set up a starting line, and collect measurements of distance and time traveled. Also, have students test on different surfaces, if possible.
hovercraft racers8

SHPE FoundationSHPE Jr. Chapter CurriculumHands-On Activity Training

Hovercraft Racers!


  • Pre-Activity Assessment
    • Brainstorming/Discussion Question: Ask students: How can two surfaces have no friction between them? (Answer: If they are not touching.).
    • Question/Answer: Ask students and discuss as a class: What two types of engineers would most likely work on building a lander for a delicate and expensive falling object like a Mars rover? (Answer: aerospace and mechanical engineers)
  • Activity Embedded Assessment
    • Discussion Question:
      • How well does the hovercraft racer slide when the balloon is out of air? (Answer: Not well.)
      • How well does the hovercraft racer slide over rough surfaces, such as a carpeted floor? (Answer: Not well.) Why do you think that is? (Answer: The air can escape through spaces between the carpet fibers, and so does not hold up the compact disc as well.)
    • Pairs Check: After students finish creating their team's hovercraft, have them work with another group to compare the performance of the hovercraft built with a cap with one hole vs. a hovercraft built with a cap containing two or three holes.
      • What are the advantages of having multiple holes? (Answer: Air can escape more quickly, so the compact disc is lifted further away from the surface and glides better.)
      • What are the advantages of having only one hole? (Answer: Air escapes more slowly, and so lasts longer.)
hovercraft racers9

SHPE FoundationSHPE Jr. Chapter CurriculumHands-On Activity Training

Hovercraft Racers!

Assessment (cont.):

  • Post-Activity Assessment
    • Brainstorming: Have students engage in open discussion and list their ideas on the board. Remind students that no idea or suggestion is "silly." Encourage wild ideas and discourage criticism of any ideas. All ideas should be respectfully heard. Ask the students:
      • Now that you have experimented with hovercraft, can you think of any ways to improve your design? (If no student responds, try to encourage ideas with: How about a way to keep air flowing because the balloon runs out quickly?)
      • What changes would you make if you wanted to build a hovercraft that could carry a heavy cargo? (Note: Modern hovercraft ferry cars across the English Channel!) (If no student responds, try to encourage ideas with: How much cargo could your hovercraft have carried? How would you carry cargo?)
    • Design Homework (optional): For a homework assignment, ask students to create a blueprint of a new hovercraft design that is capable of lifting heavy loads. Suggest that they consider using any of the ideas listed on the board from the brainstorming assessment activity.
    • Activity Extension (optional): Ask students to research the history and uses of hovercraft. Who was Christopher Cockerell? How did he make his first model of a hovercraft? How are hovercrafts used today?
hovercraft racers10
Hovercraft Racers!

SHPE FoundationSHPE Jr. Chapter CurriculumHands-On Activity Training

Teaching tips:

  • Emphasize the science concepts, vocabulary, and engineering connection; reinforce these throughout the activity.
  • For upper grades, students may be able to drill the holes in the caps themselves (with supervision) and thus be able to experiment with their hovercraft by first drilling one hole, and then adding more holes and experimenting again.
  • Have students write a hypothesis on how more than one hole will change the motion of the hovercraft, record their observations, and write a short paragraph comparing and contrasting the hovercraft behavior with one hole vs. more.
activity takeaways

SHPE FoundationSHPE Jr. Chapter CurriculumHands-On Activity Training

Activity Takeaways
  • Teambuilding skills
    • Working together on building and testing a simple hovercraft
  • Engineering skills
    • Engineering Research/Analysis: Construct a simple hovercraft, test its performance with a changing variable, analyze results.
  • Encouragement through hands-on learning
    • Students learn about how friction affects the movement and design of vehicles.
  • Motivation through having fun
    • Introduce the activity as a fun learning experience!


teachengineering contact information

SHPE FoundationSHPE Jr. Chapter CurriculumHands-On Activity Training

TeachEngineeringContact Information
  • TeachEngineering: http://www.teachengineering.org/
    • over 1,300 standards-based engineering lessons and activities
  • Carleigh Samson, TeachEngineering Editor
    • carleigh.samson@colorado.edu
    • 303.492.6950



what type of student am i
What type of Student Am I?
  • This lesson will help students :
  • Reflect on what it takes to be a successful student.
  • Explore what resources they need to be successful and how to access them.
  • Students will:
  • Understand skills and resources needed to be successful in school.
  • Learn how important it is to prioritize and manage their time
  • Be instructed in the importance of being proactive and engaged in their education
what type of student am i1
What type of Student Am I?
  • Optional Pre-Activity: What Type of Student Am I Pre-Activity Quiz
  • June Activity: What time is it?
  • July Activity: I Need Help!
  • August Activity: Multiple Intelligences and Reflection Activity
what type of student am i part 2 of 3
What Type of Student Am I? (Part 2 of 3)
  • Give students the I Need Help! Handout and as a group or in small groups, have students brainstorm what resources they have available to them
  • Once they write down what they have available, have them brainstorm what they need to become even better students
  • Have students brainstorm how to ask for assistance in getting the resources they need
what type of student am i part 2 of 31
What Type of Student Am I? (Part 2 of 3)
  • Reflection Activity – discuss the importance of sharing their discoveries with significant people in their lives
  • Distribute My Resources and encourage students to discuss with someone significant in their life how the person can be a resource to them at school, in the community, and at home
  • Never Underestimate the Power of PMA
  • Students will discuss what Positive Mental Attitude is during an activity that will take students through difficult situations to find ways to EMPOWER themselves to turn negative thinking into positive thinking.
  • Your Attitude and Enthusiasm Just Might Get You the Job
  • Enthusiasm displayed on an interview can make the difference between getting the job and not getting the job. This activity will focus on the different attitudes that can be (and have been) displayed during a job interview.
  • SHPE Jr. Chapter Information for 2014-2015 Form – Brief form online to provide SHPE Foundation with SHPE Jr. Chapter contact information for upcoming academic year (was due on May 30)
  • Proposals for Fall 2014 Noches de Ciencias will be accepted during the Summer. We will provide notifications once the application is open.