Friday, May 15th, 2015 – written by STEM Facilitator, Eugenia Ruiz
The day has finally arrived! The girls at the Sisters4Science program at Funston Elementary have been waiting for this day for a long time! Today’s session is all about rockets. To start the day off, we began with a small ice breaker. The girls really loved mimicking each others movements and memorizing everyone else’s so we did that one again. We even included our scientist, Judy Lubin, in our ice breaker. We had so much fun and silliness! We did about three rounds just with that ice breaker.
Our scientist for today is actually a part of the board for Project Exploration. Her name is Judy Lubin. She has a Masters in Economics, yet she is also a civilian scientist. Dr. Lubin explained to the girls that a civilian scientist is someone who does not have a degree in science yet has a passion for it. Dr. Lubin has a passion for science, more specifically rockets (which is amazing). She brought in a 13 foot rocket that she had built herself. She called it the “Drag Queen” and the girls loved it. Dr. Lubin and I split the rocket in half so the girls were able to see it from the inside. They touched and asked several questions about the rocket. Some questions that the girls asked were: “Where does the parachute go?” and “How much does the rocket weigh?” It was fantastic to see the girls so interested in the rocket.
She talked about how her and her son created these rockets together. She brought in several pictures and even a presentation to show the girls. She even brought a video to show how one of her rockets took off at a competition. The girls were in awe.
Dr. Lubin began talking about how a rocket can actually blast off. The main ingredient was: pressure. She brought in several little rockets so the girls can work with their own. In each small bag were the rocket itself and alka seltzer tablets. Judy and the girls went outside and they filled the rocket with 10 mL of water and placed the tablet inside the rocket. Each girl took their turn to close the rockets, place it on the ground, take several steps back, and wait for it to blast off. The girls’ reactions were AMAZING. They were amazed at the reaction that water and an alka seltzer could have when combined.
Bringing the girls back in, Judy showed the girls the combustion fuel that the rocket would use. Then she asked the biggest question of the day: “How many alka seltzer tablets would it take to help the Drag Queen take off?” Some of the guesses ranged from 100-1,000. The real answer? It took 2,000 tablets to even have the rocket launch. The girls laughed because it was such a large number. The day ended very well! The girls loved Dr. Judy and all the knowledge she brought to the session. The girls left super excited and interested in knowing more about civilian scientist. I have to say, it was a great day to be a scientist!