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WOW! in the Classroom

Straw Rockets - More Variables

This lesson has a quick review of what was taught at the beginning of the Straw Rocket lesson - what a rocket is, how they work and connections to Newton’s Laws. Students will also review the important parts of a rocket. As in the Straw Rockets lesson, they will build their own straw rockets and launch them using our straw rocket launchers. This lesson has students building different rockets for each test, while changing variables and hypothesizing how launch flights will be affected.

They will need space around the room to safely test/launch their straw rockets. (Other large rooms like a gym or cafeteria are ideal, as well as the hallway if other classes won’t be disturbed.) (Most appropriate for grade levels 5-9).

Lesson Time: 85-90 minutes

Student Activity: Students will receive instructions on how to build their own straw rocket using a straw, paper for fins, and modeling clay for the nose cone. They will also be instructed on how to properly use the launcher and then record their data. They will self-guide through various launches while changing variables on their rockets.

Group work: Students will work with a partner, although will share the launchers with small groups. In order to save time, teachers are asked to create the partners and groups before our Wizard arrives.

Standards:
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.

HS:
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.2: Dynamics (how forces affect motion) • Objects at rest • Objects moving with constant velocity • Accelerating objects