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Which Substance Makes the Best Rocket Fuel?

On Thursday January 8, students and teachers from 120 schools around the country will kick-start the New Year when they converge on Dublin for the two-day RDS Primary Science Fair.

The event, which is open from Fourth to Sixth class, encourages teachers to use an ‘inquiry-based approach’ to develop students’ scientific skills. The students are asked to choose a particular question or problem and observe and reports on their findings. 

Patricia Burke of Le Chéile ETNS in Drogheda will be bringing 27 students from Fifth Class - the school’s first time to be represented at the Science Fair.

Patricia says, ‘the students were asked to come up with investigative questions we could submit and then they voted for the most suitable. They chose the question “which substance makes the best rocket fuel?”

Our goal was to examine the reaction effervescent tablets have in different liquids. Each liquid was put on a table and we investigated whether or not the pressure created would be strong enough to force the container off the table.

We also wanted to find out if this pressure was significantly greater if we shook the container and whether or not the pressure was strong enough to move a toy car.

So we tested effervescent tablets in still water, sparkling water, orange juice, milk and Coke. We made predictions and then recorded our observations. As part of the ‘make and design’ aspect, the students designed a race track to ensure that the toy car would travel in a straight line each time and so ensuring a fair test.

We recorded and represented our findings using bar graphs, drawings and our written predictions and observations. The children loved taking part in the investigation, especially when the Coke exploded all over their poor teacher's wall displays! Never in a million years would I have thought of doing this myself. As a teacher I have definitely found it worthwhile. Students have actively been using mathematical and scientific skills and it encourages co- operative and collaborative learning. We are very excited to have our day out in January.’

Fifth Class of Le Chéile ETNS will be joined at the Fair by Midleton ETNS, Bracken ETNS, Maynooth ETNS and Newbridge ETNS. More information on the RDS Primary Science Fair here.  

 

 

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