Take students through the entire design process from research, 3-dimensional modeling, to constructing, testing and revisions for creating a best performance prototype Air Rocket. Through this investigation, students will experience Newton’s Laws and the relationship between mass, force and motion. Multiple forms of technology will be utilized to perform this inquiry based investigation such as the Air Rocket FLEXCART, which acts as a form of exhibit technology used as a model rocket launch pad.

Vernier technologies can be purchased separately and used for real-time data collection which can then be applied in the engineering design process for best prototype. Discussions involving models are integrated including how models are replicas of technology and their uses and limitations.

Air Rockets

STEM Concepts Learned From Use of Air Rocket FLEXCART: Grade Bands 3-5

Phenomena of Newton’s Laws: Newton’s First, Second, and Third Law of Motion will be experienced first-hand through an inquiry-based investigation performed in a collaborative manner using the Air Rocket FLEXCART.

Models: Students will use the Air Rocket FLEXCART model, a form of exhibit technology, to explain real phenomena and relationships in rocketry but also use data and observations to evaluate the effectiveness of the model.

Variables: Students will be able to manipulate variables and observe the results on the flight of their rockets.

Engineering Design: Students design their own air rockets for best performance. This will include analyzing data from previous tests and changing designs accordingly. Students will work collaboratively to produce a design within a given budget and time limit which incorporates scientific principles taught in earlier lessons.

Math Calculations: Force Calculations

Computer Science: Using a rocket simulation, students will understand that programming involves feeding the variables into a program in order to accomplish the big picture goal, in this case, the highest flying rocket.

Vernier Technology: The use of the Vernier Go Direct® Photogate and accompanying adaptor, created by FLEXCART, allows students to collect, analyze and interpret real-time scientific data from their Air Rocket investigation. The photogate can be purchased separately from and used with the Air Rocket FLEXCART.

STEM Careers associated with the Air Rocket Unit Plan:

  • Aerospace Engineer
  • Rocket Engineer
  • Rocket Scientist
  • Pyrotechnics Specialist
  • Metallurgist
  • Physicist
  • Computer Engineer
  • Computer Scientist
  • General Engineer
  • Meteorologist
  • Research Engineer
  • Astronaut

Air Rocket FLEXCART Specs:

Air Rocket Specs

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

The Air Rocket FLEXCART includes a Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) aligned unit plan for educational use. The unit plan includes individual lesson plans and all accompanying worksheets needed in order to teach the unit. Each lesson includes the direct NGSS alignment, a grade appropriate scientific explanation of the background for the teacher, the activity, a way to extend the lesson and the take away for each lesson. We currently offer Air Rocket supplemental curriculum written for Grade Bands K-2, 3-5 and 6-8. Grade Bands 9-12 are in process of development. The following lists some of the NGSS Topics and Performance Expectations included:

Topic: Space Systems: Stars and the Solar System

Performance Expectations:
5-PS2-1: Support an argument that the gravitational force exerted by Earth on objects is directed down.

Topic: Forces and Interactions

Performance Expectations:
3-PS2-1: Plan and conduct an investigation to provide evidence of the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces on the motion of an object.

Topic: Energy

Performance Expectations:
4-PS3-1: Use evidence to construct an explanation relating the speed of an object to the energy of that object.
4-PS3-3: Ask questions and predict outcomes about the changes in energy that occur when objects collide.
4-PS3-4: Apply scientific ideas to design, test, and refine a device that converts energy from one form to another.

Topic: 3-5 Engineering Design

Performance Expectations:
3-5-ETS1-1: Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.
3-5-ETS1-2: Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
3-5-ETS1-3: Plan and carry out fair tests in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify aspects of a model or prototype that can be improved.