Skimmer Regatta

The latest 5th grade science unit is Force and Motion. To assist the students in understanding this science unit, the students, in groups, are designing fronts .and backs of skimmers plus sail designs.  A skimmer is a rectangular shape made from folder paper.  You must have these attributes:

Skimmer Regatta Trophy

Skimmer Regatta Trophy

.  a sail
.  a front at least 9 centemeters out and
.  a back  optional.
Next, we put our skimmer through several tests where we test each design feature separately:
1. We test the airflow by using either long bursts of air or short bursts of air, either to the inside front or to the outside back of the skimmer only.
2. We test the surface [lubricant] that we want our skimmer to glide across. The reason we do this is to see which one creates the most drag and to eliminate that one. The one that creates the least amount of friction we will use. The surfaces [lubricants] that we can choose from include wax paper, aluminum foil, and release aluminum foil.
3. We design two fronts and two backs. We tested them all on the chosen lubricant (a lubricant is a way to reduce the amount of friction generated when a material rubs against another material).
4. Then, we take each of our successful design attributes and add them, test them together, adjusting where needed; making a unique skimmer.
5. We have a class race to see who’s skimmer is the best.
6.  Finally, all grade 5 classrooms get together to do a regatta to see overall, in the grade, whose skimmer travels the farthest distance.
This year we designed and created a trophy to be given to the winner of the regatta.
The grade level regatta took place on 3/30/10.  The 5 classroom teams had 3 trials each.  We averaged the times of the 3 trials for each classroom.  The two classrooms with the highest average moved on to the final regatta.  The two classrooms were Ms Varley’s and Mrs. Chiavarini’s.  The winner of the grade level Skimmer Regatta was . . . MRS. CHIAVARINI’S CLASS!!!!!

Reported by: Annie, Alice, Julia, and Jacquelyn

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