Stomp Rockets Lesson
Elementary kinematics (acceleration, gravity, and air resistance)
Understand applications of forces
Basic design concepts (measurement)
|Toy Rocket Launchers
|Toy Rockets (for demo)
|Printer paper/scratch paper
|String/long measuring tape
Give a very short overview on the relationship between displacement, velocity, acceleration, and forces (no/simple equations)
Practical applications of gravity, wind resistance, and projectile motion (no equations)
Tell them basic relationships: gravity makes everything stick to the ground, air resistance pushes all objects (light ones especially) in the air, more force applied equals more force put out
Introduce the concept of a rocket being propelled through the air; this is projectile motion. Tell students that the object of today is to build a rocket that can be launched the farthest. The concepts that they just learned can all be applied. (Include a sample rocket)
Students will be given paper, cardboard, pennies, and tape to build their rocket. Some things to think about are: making the rocket heavier (pennies), making the rocket wider, having rockets with different numbers of “wings,” having rockets with different style “wings,”...etc.
Students will test things out to see which rockets are more effective. (We have the choice of either making a competition, or have them build several rockets and see which one went farthest. If we have them test it, we will need to be close to an outdoor space.)
Building the Rocket
The rockets will be launched and there will be a mini-competition to see which rocket goes the farthest. Try to get the students to understand why some rockets worked better than others. Encourage students to try adjusting the rocket launcher to different angles.
1) Wrap paper around rocket launcher tube (students decide how tight)
2) Use index card/ cardboard to make tail. (any shape is accepted)
3) Nozzles: cut out cone shape from a piece of paper. Circumference of bottom of cone must match circumference of pipe. Put pennies inside nozzle. (number of pennies is decided by the students).
4) If time permits, we will allow students to launch their rockets multiple times.
Assist the students while they are building their rockets. During rocket production, ask students why they are designing their rocket that way. During launches, have them focus on what makes some rockets work better than others. Expectation would be that the front of the rocket would not be overloaded with pennies (~2-3 pennies). Students should also realize that the tail of the rocket does not affect its flight that much.
Post Lesson Discussions
1. Why did we put the pennies at the front of the rocket? What would happen if we put pennies at the back of the rocket?
2. Did the rocket tail type make a difference?
3. At what launch angle did you find the rocket went the furthest? What other factors during the launching process affected how far the rocket launched?
4. What role did gravity have in launching the rockets?
Rocket Launcher Directions (NASA.gov)