Constructing Bottle Rockets
lesson
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# Constructing Bottle Rockets

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Resource Type Lesson Plan
Attributes

Subjects

• Science
• Engineering
• Math

Time

• 60-120 minutes

Skills

• Teamwork
• Basic physics principals
• Problem-solving
• Construction

Learning Objective/Goal:

• Students will learn how rockets work using simple principles.
• Students will see how forces like push, pull, and gravity make the rocket move.
• Students will create their own bottle rockets using simple materials

Materials Needed:

• Empty 2L plastic bottles (one per group)
• Water
• Air pump with a nozzle that fits the bottle opening
• Fin and nose cone materials (cardboard, plastic, duct tape)

NGSS Standards:

• 3-5-ETS1-1
• 3-5-ETS1-2
• 3-5-ETS1-3

ISTE Standards for Students:

• 4a - Innovative Designer
• 5b - Computational Thinker

Background

• Launching rockets using 2L bottles is a fun and educational activity that demonstrates the principles of physics, particularly Newton's Laws of Motion. By building and launching rockets, students can explore concepts such as force, mass, gravity, and aerodynamics in a hands-on and engaging way.

Activity

Introduction:

• Introduce the activity and explain the basic principles of rocketry, including Newton’s Third Law: "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction."
• Discuss how the design of the rocket (fins, nose cone) affects its flight.

Construction:

• Have the students first think about what they want their rocket to look like and design their own on paper
• Guide their designs to be more realistic as you show them the materials

Nose Cone

• First have students design a nose cone for the rocket (to fit around the bottom of the bottle), but do not glue it on yet
• Discuss how this shape makes it more aerodynamic and reduces resistance (drag) on the rocket
• Add play-dough or some kind of weight to the end of the bottle, otherwise it will be too light. Now have the students tape on the nose cone

Fins

• Next, have students make fins, preferably out of a stronger paper to attach at the bottom (near the cap). Discuss how these will stabilize the rocket as it flies
• Tape these on strongly with duct tape

Testing:

• Fill about a quarter of the bottle with water
• Attach to pump and fill until about 80psi
• Release the pressure and the rocket will launch

Extra

Tips for Students:

• Focus on creating stable and symmetrical designs to ensure a straight flight path.
• Think about all the different fin shapes and heights but pick the one that would give the rocket the most stability

Tips for Teachers

• Don’t fill the rockets with too much water -this will add unnecessary weight
• Make sure everyone is at a safe distance away from the rocket
• Put the launcher at an incline to ensure the rocket will travel away from the group

Extensions:

• Make it a competition between students/groups on which goes the farthest
• Experiment with different amounts of water to see how it affects the rocket's performance.

## Resources

Files

Bottle rockets.pdf

Lesson Plan
June 25, 2024
61.16 KB

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