Spotty Blue Banana

Helping kids learn

Posts Tagged ‘spottybluebanana

Water Bottle Rocket

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A couple of years ago I saw a video that capture my interest in creating a water rocket to demonstrate how Newton’s Laws act, hence how a rocket works, and have a bit of fun in the process. Over the intervening period, I forgot about it again, until recently when I came across another example on a BBC television programme, Bang goes the theory (I’ll return to this in a later post).

The latter version of the rocket is somewhat simpler in design, and can easily be recreated.

The original example I now remembered was a bit more involved as a project, and takes a little longer to create. I dug out my early Make Magazines from the garage and found the instructions in there. You can also access them online.

1. Easier design

This is an informative page about the principles, and how to recreate the design with a video embedded.


2. More involved design

This design takes a little more time and effort, and leads to a more ‘explosive’ result.

These are the online instructions from the Make Magazine volume 5 that I’ve got. This is Steve Lodefink’s original design, and there is a video of Steve firing his rocket.

A later instructional video, by Kip Kay is less successful with the rocket, but gives you some pointers.


You can even have water rocket parties, where you get the kids to decorate their rocket how they want, before launching them, as demonstrated in this finkbuilt post.

Squigly educational games

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The Squigly site has a few very nice games, split into maths, spelling/typing/reading, geography, memory and matching and making connections. Some time dependent games seem a little quick at first, but maybe with practise the kids will get quicker and more accurate.


Written by markuos

August 10, 2009 at 7:46 pm

Art history

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Smarthistory is an interesting site (historically categorized into different periods) that not only displays images of over 200 art works, but have well informed, engaging discussions as embedded audio.


Written by markuos

August 5, 2009 at 7:43 pm

Sixty Symbols – Nottingham University Physics & Astronomy videos

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This site, Sixty Symbols, does for Physics and Astronomy what my last post, Periodic Table, did for Chemistry.

Links: Sixty Symbols dedicated site & YouTube channel


Exploratorium: the museum of science, art and human perception

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Based in San Francisco, the Exploratorium was founded by the famous physicist and educator Dr Frank Oppenheiner, who remained the director until his death in 1985.

I’ll be visiting the site again, and again and probably again; it’s got to great stuff on there.

However, today I’m interested in the After School section, which “brings hands on activities and digital library resources into afterschool play”.

There are well presented instructional videos telling you how to create the activity, how to engage children in the activity, and how to vary things and investigate the results.



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What about having a representation of any atom in the Periodic Table, showing the spin of the electrons in the shells. Something like this:


Site link.

abc teach

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I came across this excellent site called abcteach. It is nicely categories and has so many worksheets for printing, lots of tools for handwriting, letter/word sorting, word searches, spelling, sudoku. For slightly older children there are maths and science, reading, writing, thinking skills, logic puzzles, and much more. I’d suggest having a good look around.