Music

Fire, Fire, Fire!

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Fire, Fire, Fire!
by Tim Griffin, copyright 2010
to the tune of the old sea chanty “Blow Ye Winds in the Morning”

Now gather round young rocketeers and listen well to me
I’ll sing of Isaac Newton and his laws of motion three
Singing, all aboard the rocket ship and launch it ever higher
It works because of Newton’s laws and fire, fire, fire!

Now an object that is resting will remain at rest you know
Until a force should act upon it, make that rocket go
Singing, all aboard the rocket ship and launch it ever higher
Mix hydrogen with oxygen and fire, fire, fire!

Now once an object’s moving out in space where there’s no air
It’ll just go on forever ‘cause there ain’t no friction there
Singing, all aboard the rocket ship and launch it ever higher
Once you’re going, there’s no slowing, fire, fire, fire!

Now when you change velocity, you must apply a force
And impulse equals delta-V times the mass of course
Singing, all aboard the rocket ship and launch it ever higher
Can you say acceleration? Fire, fire, fire!

Exhaust, you see, and delta-V are opposites all right,
If you fire your rocket to the left it’ll push you to the right
Singing, all aboard the rocket ship and launch it ever higher
That’s the facts, how mass reacts to fire, fire, fire!

Now Newton never went to space but boy, we’re going now
We knew exactly what to do ‘cause Newton showed us how
Singing, all aboard the rocket ship and launch it ever higher
Newton knew just what to do with fire, fire, fire!
Newton knew just what to do with fire, fire, fire!

Print Notes Notes

Usually I write my own melodies, but I used an old sea chanty for this one. Writing with an old tune is great when you want to share a song with people quickly and easily, though you want to use one old enough to avoid copyright issues if you can. I wrote this with a class of kindergartners and first graders, most of whom had special needs, who then went on to successfully build and launch their own rockets on the yard. A five-year old girl with autism spoke her first multisyllabic word as we launched: “Blastoff.” And yes, of course my students know songs about whaling; if you’d ever visited my classroom you wouldn’t have to ask that. By the way, this is the song that made one administrator complain that my music makes learning “too easy.”

I later entered “Fire” in a writing contest at OVFF on the theme, “It’s not rocket science.” I argued that this song demonstrates that rocket science *isn’t* rocket science, if you get my meaning; the song won second prize. Rocket science indeed.

Suggestions for the classroom: even kindergartners can do simple experiments to safely test and demonstrate the basic principles of rocketry. Have the kids blow up balloons and let them go. Put a kid on a skateboard and have him throw a basketball one way; does the child move the other way? For an adult-run demonstration, mount wheels on a bottle of diet cola, them put in some Mentos and watch the thing go.

Further reading: For elementary students, I recommend ISAAC NEWTON AND THE LAWS OF MOTION by Andrea Gianopoulos. For middle school or above, check out THE MANGA GUIDE TO PHYSICS by Hideo Nitta and Keita Takatsu. Both books have lots of pictures and go beyond the formulae to tell the story of how basic physics really works.

Here are some standards from the NGSS, the NRC’s Framework for K-12 Science Education, the Common Core, and the state of California addressed by this song:

Kindergarten
K-PS2-1. Plan and conduct an investigation to compare the effects of different strengths or different directions of pushes and pulls on the motion of an object.
K-PS2-2. Analyze data to determine if a design solution works as intended to change the speed or direction of an object with a push or a pull.
PS3.C. A bigger push or pull makes things speed up or slow down more quickly.
ETS1.A. A situation that people want to change or create can be approached as a problem to be solved through engineering. Such problems may have many acceptable solutions.
SL.K.3. Ask and answer questions in order to seek help, get information, or clarify something that is not understood.
MP.2. Reason abstractly and quantitatively.
K-2-ETS1-1. Ask questions, make observations, and gather information about a situation people want to change to define a simple problem that can be solved through the development of a new or improved object or tool.
K-2-ETS1-2. Develop a simple sketch, drawing, or physical model to illustrate how the shape of an object helps it function as needed to solve a given problem.
K-2-ETS1-3. Analyze data from tests of two objects designed to solve the same problem to compare the strengths and weaknesses of how each performs.

First Grade
1-PS4-1. Plan and conduct investigations collaboratively to produce data to serve as the basis for evidence to answer a question.
1-PS4-4. Use tools and materials provided to design a device that solves a specific problem.
MP.4. Model with mathematics.
K-2-ETS1-1. Ask questions, make observations, and gather information about a situation people want to change to define a simple problem that can be solved through the development of a new or improved object or tool.
K-2-ETS1-2. Develop a simple sketch, drawing, or physical model to illustrate how the shape of an object helps it function as needed to solve a given problem.
K-2-ETS1-3. Analyze data from tests of two objects designed to solve the same problem to compare the strengths and weaknesses of how each performs.

Second Grade
2-PS1-2. Every human-made product is designed by applying some knowledge of the natural world and is built using materials derived from the natural world.
PS1.B. Chemical Reactions. Heating or cooling a substance may cause changes that can be observed. Sometimes these changes are reversible, and sometimes they are not.
K-2-ETS1-1. Ask questions, make observations, and gather information about a situation people want to change to define a simple problem that can be solved through the development of a new or improved object or tool.
K-2-ETS1-2. Develop a simple sketch, drawing, or physical model to illustrate how the shape of an object helps it function as needed to solve a given problem.
K-2-ETS1-3. Analyze data from tests of two objects designed to solve the same problem to compare the strengths and weaknesses of how each performs.
MP.4. Model with mathematics.
CA.PS.2.1. The motion of objects can be observed and measured.
CA.PS.2.1.a. Students know the position of an object can be described by locating it in relation to another object or to the background.
CA.PS.2.1.b. Students know an object’s motion can be described by recording the change in position of the object over time.
CA.PS.2.1.c: Students know the way to change how something is moving is by giving it a push or a pull. The size of the change is related to the strength, or the amount of force, of the push or pull.

Third Grade
3-PS2-1. Plan and conduct an investigation to provide evidence of the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces on the motion of an object.
3-PS2-2. Make observations and/or measurements of an object’s motion to provide evidence that a pattern can be used to predict future motion.
3-PS2-4. Scientific discoveries about the natural world can often lead to new and improved technologies, which are developed through the engineering design process.
PS2.A. Forces and Motion. Each force acts on one particular object and has both strength and a direction. An object at rest typically has multiple forces acting on it, but they add to give zero net force on the object. Forces that do not sum to zero can cause changes in the object’s speed or direction of motion. The patterns of an object’s motion in various situations can be observed and measured; when that past motion exhibits a regular pattern, future motion can be predicted from it.
MP.2. Reason abstractly and quantitatively.
3-5-ETS-1. Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.

Fourth Grade
4-PS3-1. Use evidence to construct an explanation relating the speed of an object to the energy of that object.
4-PS3-4. Apply scientific ideas to design, test, and refine a device that converts energy from one form to another.
3-5-ETS-1. Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.

Middle School:
MS-PS2-2. Plan an investigation to provide evidence that the change in an object’s motion depends on the sum of the forces on the object and the mass of the object.
MP.2. Reason abstractly and quantitatively.
CA.PS.8.1. The velocity of an object is the rate of change of its position.
CA.PS.8.1.d. Students know the velocity of an object must be described by specifying both the direction and the speed of the object.
CA.PS.8.1.e. Students know changes in velocity may be due to changes in speed, direction, or both.
CA.PS.8.2: Unbalanced forces cause changes in velocity.
CA.PS.8.2.f: Students know the greater the mass of an object, the more force is needed to achieve the same rate of change in motion.

GUITAR CHORDS: D, G, E, A.