Rocketry - Testing Thrust
Testing with Paper Rockets
Students should already know a little something about:
- Newton’s Laws
- force and thrust
In this lesson students will compare and contrast airplane and rockets, further discuss force and thrust, and Newton’s 3rd Law. Adding to the discussion about thrust, students will also learn how weight and control affect a rockets flight. Students will learn how the size and shape of the nozzle effects a rocket, and will design two paper rockets in order to test this.
(Most appropriate for grade levels 5-10.)
Lesson Time: 60 minutes
Student Activity: Students will make two paper rockets that they will launch by blowing through a straw. These straw rockets will differ in diameter, allowing students to see how rockets with smaller exit nozzles provide more thrust. They can also compare the distances traveled by their two rockets after predicting where they will land.
Group work: There is no group work in this activity, students will be working on their own. If you feel that working with partners would be beneficial for your class, please assign partners before our Wizard arrives.
4.PS.2: Energy can be transferred from one location to another or can be transformed from one form to another.
5.PS.1: The amount of change in movement of an object is based on the mass of the object and the amount of force exerted.
6.PS.3: There are two categories of energy: kinetic and potential.
6.PS.4: An object’s motion can be described by its speed and the direction in which it is moving.
7.PS.3: Energy can be transformed or transferred but is never lost.
7.PS.4: Energy can be transferred through a variety of ways.
8.PS.2: Forces can act to change the motion of objects.
P.F.1: Newton’s laws applied to complex problems.
P.F.5: Air resistance and drag.
PS.FM.2: Forces • Force diagrams • Types of forces (gravity, friction, normal, tension) • Field model for forces at a distance.
PS.FM.3: Dynamics (how forces affect motion) • Objects at rest • Objects moving with constant velocity • Accelerating objects.