Welcome to the Wonder Observatory
Welcome to a stellar area of Camp! Gazing at the stars and WONDERing about planets and galaxies far away, the study of astronomy is full of infinite Wonder!
Astronomy studies celestial objects (things in outer space) and the physics, chemistry, and evolution of such objects. Astronomers often work at research institutions or universities where they research a variety of topics involving the vast reaches outside Earth's doorstep.
Which planet could we colonize? How do we explore outer space? Investigate these Wonders and much more at the Wonder Observatory!
Build a simple “rocket” in this activity and explore some of the basic principles behind rocketry. Ready to Wonder? Blast off in 3…2…1…
What you'll need
- 1 ball of string at least 30 feet long
- 1 plastic soda straw
- 1 roll of masking tape
- 1 pair of scissors
- Several balloons
- 1 measuring tape
- 1 ball-point pen
Thread one end of the string through the drinking straw. Attach it to something stable, like a curtain rod or a heavy piece of furniture. Be careful that no one trips over the string.
Have someone inflate a balloon and hold the air inside without tying it. While someone holds the other end of the string taut, attach the balloon to the straw with the masking tape.
Release the air from the balloon. Measure and record the distance it moves.
Wonderuptions: Will adding more air to the balloon before releasing it make your rocket go farther or not as far? What will happen if the string is held loosely instead of taut?
Why does that happen?
This simple activity demonstrates how rockets work. They carry containers filled with substances that, when ignited, produce gases. These gases escape through vents in the rear of the rocket. The gases going backward drive the rocket forward. This force demonstrates the principle of reaction and is an example of Newton's Third Law, which states for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. You can also try this experiment outdoors using a much longer piece of string.
Ages 14 and up
The Stars by H. A. Rey