Simple, easy to make, and fun, this model engine is made from cheap easy-to-find materials. It runs on compressed air supplied by your lungs as you blow the piston down and then suck it back up! It demonstrates principles of motion and engine operation, and allows students to learn the main parts of any engine: Crankcase, Crankshaft, Connecting Rod, Piston, Cylinder, and Flywheels.
I can't take credit for "inventing" this cool project but I've adapted this to make it a lot easier to build, and it can be done very quickly. This is an activity I do with my 7th and 8th grade students in a Small Engines Repair class, but it could be used for many other activities like drafting, measuring, studying the laws of motion, or even a history project, as it closely remembers an old hit and miss engine.
Content Learning Objective:
By building a Toilet Paper Engine, students will understand the basic principles of operation in an Internal Combustion Engine.
Language Learning Objective:
By building a Toilet Paper Engine, students will identify engine parts using their correct names; i.e.- a ping pong ball is not a ping pong ball, it is a Piston.
Please find included below an Instructions Booklet .pdf, a Template .pdf, and a Measurements Worksheet .pdf. Also included is a Google Sketchup model of the completed engine
I have had a few people ask about other resources relating to engines that could be used when teaching, so here are a few!
Excellent website that shows cutaway animations of just about every type of engine you could imagine!
Wikipedia's take- a couple of great animations, TONS of information, and lots of other links to more websites.
A couple of animations of different motorcycle engines- neat because you can hide different parts of the engine while the animation is running.