TITLE OF LESSON PLAN: Rockets
Subject: Technology Education
Course: Tech Expo Grade level(s): Grade 06
Length: 10 (88 Min Periods)
Frederick Essential Curriculum:
• Demonstrate the ability to solve problems with technology using systems approach, higher order
thinking skills, individual and collaborative ingenuity and a variety of resources including information,
tools and materials.
Develop visual aids to represent technology systems, devices and processes
Produce technical sketches and a plan and communicate solutions to a technological problem
Apply a system approach to solve a problem
Collect information through a variety of means including telecommunications
Identify and utilize a variety of materials and resources in the design and construction of a product.
Abstract or goal of lesson:
Students will design and produce a Bottle Rocket. Students will use problem-solving
techniques to develop these rockets. They will use MS Publisher to create the design
for their rocket.
How has technology changed flight throughout the centuries and how does this relate to other
forms of transportation.
Where does the history of the rocket begin? We will look back at the history of flight and its
What type of software and new technology is used the design process today to make a more
efficient rocket and how this relates to other forms of transportation
To review different types of rockets and the correct value and how they relate to our society
What other kinds of air transportation options instead of the rockets are there?
What is the key terminology in the designs of the rockets?
A close look at Newton 3 laws of physics.
Type of lesson:
1. How has technology changed design of rockets throughout the centuries?
2. Why are rockets and other forms of space travel vital to our future?
3. What are the key characteristics of making an efficient rocket?
Authentic Task Description:
As you can see in the warm-up several areas need to be investigated before a student
completely understands rockets. Find out which design factors contribute to the rocket. You
will learn how Newton’s Laws of Motion affect your rocket. Explore which type of rocket is
best, and identify and describe the parts of the rocket. It is important that students have in
mind what key features their rocket must have before they begin to develop it. The students
will utilize a variety of resources to determine what materials work best and how the stress
level and design determines the efficiency of their rocket.
. Strategies to Teach to Meet Objective(s):
1. Activity - The students will brainstorm and define the key terms used in flight.
2. Activity - Review the guidelines that should be followed when designing a rocket. Students will
sketch an example of different types of rockets.
3. Activity - The students will use their knowledge of rockets to create an individual and then class
evaluation form, for evaluation of their rockets.
4. Activity - The students will complete the first three steps of the problem solving techniques and
how they will relate it to building the perfect rocket.
5. Activity – Introduction to the Unit Performance Assessment "The final frontier.” Students work
independently create a bottle rocket.
6. Activity – Review of Newton’s laws of motion. Demonstration of examples of each
7. Activity – Movie on rockets, with questions and examples to follow.
8. Activity- Plan the rockets
9. Activity – Create the rockets (2 Days)
10. Activity – Test the rockets – Make adjustments
11. Activity – Final Flight
12. Activity – Review – Complete an Exam.
Tech Expo- “Flight, The Final Frontier”
What is a bottle rocket and what does it have to do with Tech Ed?
A bottle rocket is a 2-liter (soda) bottle with compressed air and water released in an
upward direction. It has everything to do with Technology because we can use this
tool to learn many concepts about motion, forces, energy and flight as well as the
Why do bottle rockets fly?
The air pressure propels the bottle rocket skyward
What is the expected outcome for these rockets?
The objective is to keep the rocket in the air as long as possible.
Questions to consider:
Why do we have to use water, or do we?
Will it fly without water?
If a little water works well, will a lot of water work better?
Will it fly best when it is totally full?
What volume of water works best?
These questions can be answered by experimenting with various levels of water using a bottle with no
To get an exact amount of water tests should be run with various amounts of water on the final product.
Perform a demonstration using a bottle with various amounts of water to answer the preceding questions. As with
all good demonstrations more questions usually arise, such as:
1. Why did the rocket that was full of water barely take off?
It was too heavy or massive. This can be explained with: Newton's first law
of motion: A body at rest tends to remain at rest and a body in motion tends to stay in
2. The rocket didn't have enough "oomph" (force) to make it take off. Why?
There was not enough force for the relatively huge mass. The more mass it has, the less
it will accelerate using the same force. This can be explained using: Newton's second
law of motion: Force equals Mass times Acceleration.
3. Why did the water go one-way and the rocket the other? There is an equal
force in both directions. This can be explained by: Newton's third law of
motion: For every action there is an equal but opposite reaction.
Launching something as large as the space shuttle is a complex project.
But scientists can send this huge vehicle into orbit partly because they
understand the natural laws that describe how objects move. Scientists
discovered these laws years ago. Yet the laws are still fundamental to
every rocket launch, even the bottle rocket that you will launch in this
lab. The same law that states how hitting a tennis ball makes it go faster
also tells how rockets are launched. This law is Newton's third law of
'Newton's third law of motion' states that for every action there is an equal and opposite
reaction. Newton's third law also applies to rockets. A rocket gets its lift from the gases
pushing out of its tail. The force of the rocket pushing on these gases is the action force.
The gases exert an equal but opposite force on the rocket, which forces the rocket up,
this is called the reaction force.
The rocket gases do not have to push against anything, such as the ground. The reaction
force exists even in outer space, even if there is no air for the gasses to act on. When
astronauts need to change a rocket's path slightly, they rely on the action of gases. A
rocket expels gas in one direction creating a reaction force that pushes the rocket in the
opposite direction. The rocket accelerates.
More Questions to consider:
How high does it fly?
Do fins help keep the rocket stable?
Does a parachute help keep it aloft?
How might a parachute work?
Fins should be firm; if they flop around they are useless.
Fins should be adequately secured; duct tape works well
Also fins can be made out of anything stable such as rigid cardboard or a manila
The size of the fin does matter!
o The best planes had long and narrow fins
A garbage bag parachute will do
Cut the bag
Attach strings in the manner indicated in the following picture.
lay it flat and use 16 strings.
Attach the parachute to the inside of the sleeve, underneath the nose cone as the
following diagram indicates
Use the "Z" fold, do not wrap the strings around the parachute
Nose Cone: How do you get the nose cone to separate from the rocket body?
Inertia, and example can be demonstrated by launching a basketball on
top of the rocket. The basketball separated because it had more inertia
than the rocket. Inertia is a property of matter. The more matter (mass)
something has the more inertia it will have. Therefore, we must add
some mass to our nosecone.
The nose cone must have a higher mass to surface area ratio than the body of the
rocket. The nose cone must go through the air easier than the body of the rocket.
Once the nose cone separates it must remain linked to the body of the rocket.
Background: Students will build a rocket made from a typical 2-liter soda bottle. The
opening of the bottle must be the normal sized opening (9/16" inside diameter). The
bottle will be turned so that the opening is down and will expel water and air downward,
thus pushing the bottle upward.
The rocket must be made to fit the following parameters:
1. Students will bring one completed 2-liter bottle rocket to school. No commercially
finished or model products may be used. Students should place their name and
period number on the rocket.
2. The pressurized portion of the rocket must consist of one plastic 2-liter pop bottle.
The manufactured structural integrity of the bottle cannot be altered. In other
words, Don't poke a hole in the bottle!!! No metal parts will be allowed on the
pressurized rocket body. The mass of the empty rocket assembly cannot exceed
3. All energy imparted to the rocket must originate from the water/air pressure
combination. No other potential or kinetic source of energy will be permitted.
4. All rockets will be launched at a pressure not to exceed 80 pounds per square
inch. Once the rocket is pressurized, no student can touch or approach the rocket.
5. Each rocket launched must pass a safety inspection and have a mass
6. Though various rocket components may separate during the flight, all must remain
linked together with a maximum distance not to exceed three (3) meters. If a nose
cone is used, it can separate, but should remain attached to the rocket body. If the
any part of the rocket becomes unattached during flight, the rocket will be marked
as a detachment and no bonus points will be awarded.
7. Caution: No materials will be allowed that can compromise the integrity of the
plastic bottles (e.g., hot glues or super glues). Cold glue is acceptable. Sanding or
other abrasion of the plastic used for the pressurized body is not allowable. Use of
duct tape is highly recommended as the main type of fastener.
SCORING: There will be two actual launches per student. Practice launches will be
allowed, but it must be before the due date and arranged with Mr. McGaughey. All rockets
will be launched using the launching pad provided by Mr. McGaughey. The judges will
time the rocket's flight. Timing of the rocket starts when the rocket leaves the launch pad,
and stops when the first part of the rocket hits the ground, when the rocket disappears
from the judges' sight, or when the rocket impacts or gets entangled in an object (e.g. the
rocket collides with a tree.) Bonus points will be awarded for those rockets who above
set time standards. The winning rocket will be determined by the greatest time aloft
(recorded to the nearest hundredth of a second).
Other Good Rocket Websites
N. E. R. D. S. Inc. Nebraska Educators
Rocket's Away-Ohio State: Test your skill
Really Doing Science, This is the
and remember to use the scientific
company that we bought our launcher
method, change only one variable at a
from. Order your own launcher and shoot
rockets as a hobby.
Click here to purchase an inexpensive
Lancaster High School's RocketFest
rocket launcher from Pitsco called the
Backyard Blaster. $20
Bigfoot Water Rocket Launcher Systems:
This is another launcher making WATER ROCKETS CONSTRUCTION
company, There are also numerous tips GUIDE from Gilbert Junior High School in
and hints on how to make and launch Arizona
your own rockets.
Clifford Heath's Rocket Page. There is a
The Water Rocket Garage A site full of
vast amount of stuff on this site, including
scientific analysis and multi staged
a simulation and a page of at least 25
Create one bottle rocket that will fly straight and remain aloft for a maximum amount of time.
Two 2-liter bottles
One small plastic cone (athletic)
Large Plastic Trash Bag
Avery Paper reinforcement labels (you'll need 32/chute.)
Cut the top and the bottom off of one bottle, so that the center portion or a cylinder remains.
Tape the cylinder to another bottle to create a fuselage (a place to store the parachute).
Use the athletic cone to make your nose cone. Use fairly rigid scissors and cut the bottom
square off of the cone. Depending upon your project's mass limitations, place a golf ball sized
piece of clay in the tip of the cone. This will add mass to the cone and give the rocket/cone more
inertia. Then, using scissors, trim the cone to make it symmetrical. (Hint: the diameter of the
bottom of the cone should be a little wider than the diameter of a 2-liter bottle.
Attach the cone with string to the top of the other two-liter bottles so that it looks like the
diagram. Tie a knot in the end of each piece of string to give it more friction and tape it using a
piece of duct tape to the inside of the cone and to the inside of the rocket body.
Many students have trouble with their nosecone getting stuck on the top of the rocket and not
coming off. This can be prevented by making a pedestal for the cone to sit on. It should be high
enough up so that there is space between the cone and the top of the parachute compartment.
You can make a pedestal out of the same material you will make the fins, the manila folder.
Make three mini-fins, invert them and tape them on the rocket where the cone should sit.
Cut three shapes out of the folded bottom in the shape that the diagram shows. Your fins will be
triangular. Or Cut out Cardboard 6” by 4” A side and B side of a right triangle
The next drawing indicates how the fin should look once folded.
Make three fins and tape them on the rocket. Be sure that the fins are spaced equally around
the rocket body. Using a piece of string and wrapping it around the bottle and marking the string
where it meets the end can achieve this. Mark the string and lay it flat on a meter-stick or ruler.
Find the circumference of the bottle by measuring the length of the string to the mark. Once you
know the circumference, then you can divide it by three to find the distances the fins should be
Mark straight lines on the bottle by putting the bottle in the door frame or a right angle and trace
a line on the bottle with a marker. Use these lines as guides to place the fins on the bottles.
Making the Parachute
Don't forget a good parachute has shroud lines that are at least as long as the diameter of the
Lay your garbage bag out flat. Cut off the closed end. It should look like a large rectangle and be
open at both ends. Lay down the bag on a flat surface and smooth it out.
The bag has a long side and a short side and is open at both ends. Fold it in two so that the
short side is half as long as it was originally.
Make sure the edges are perfectly lined up during each fold. Now fold it in half along the long
Make a triangle with the base of the triangle being the closed end of the previous fold.
Now take fold it again. Fold the hypotenuse so that it lines up with the right side of the triangle in
the above drawing.
Examine the base of the triangle and find the shortest length from the tip to the base. This is the
limiting factor for chute size. The most pointed end will end up being the middle of the canopy.
For an example; if you want the diameter of the chute to be 34 inches then measure 17 inches
from the center of the canopy (the most pointed side of the parachute) along each side, mark it
and then cut it.
After cutting it, unfold it. If you have been successful there should be two canopies.
Fold the canopy in half, then into quarters, then into eighths. Carefully crease. Crease it well.
Unfold again. Now the canopy is divided into 16ths. Get masking tape and place one on both
the inside and outside of every crease, making sure that they are overlaid on top of each other.
Punch holes through every piece of masking tape (Avery Tabs work just as well) and use these
for the place where the kite string shroud lines are tied.
As mentioned earlier the minimum length of the shroud line should be the same length as the
diameter of the canopy.
After punching the holes fold the canopy in half. Pick four holes and tie the shroud lines to the
holes. After doing this tie the four lines together at the end most distant from the canopy.
Repeat this four times until the chute is completed.
Carefully read the safety instructions. Fill the rocket half full of water, place on the launch pad,
pressurize, and launch.
1. How has technology changed design of rockets throughout
2. Why are rockets and other forms of space travel vital to our
3. What are the key characteristics of making an efficient
1. How do Newton’s three laws relate to the bottle rocket you
are about to make. Use your previous notes to answer this
2. Sketch on a sheet of paper what you think your bottle
rocket will look like
1. In 10 minutes we will have a warm-up quiz on how each of
Newton’s three laws relate to your rocket.
Create and Attach the Fins
Create and attach the Cone Supports
Build the Parachute
1. Why do we need weight in the cone of our rocket?
2. Write the How to Create a Parachute steps Below
Lay your garbage bag out flat. Cut off the closed end.
Fold it in two so that the short side is half as long as it was
Now fold it in half along the long axis
Make a triangle with the base of the triangle being closed
Fold the hypotenuse so that it lines up with the right side.
Unit Rockets: Final Review
SIT IN WITH YOUR ROCKET PARTNER
WARM-UP - Write a three-point paragraph. –15 Minutes
Your Introductory sentence is:
Let me tell you the story of my rocket, it was _________.
o Requirements: Three sentences and a concluding sentence
Complete the Rocket Review Sheet (Handout)
o What did you do good?
o What would you change?
Complete the Self evaluation Rubric
Recommendation to Next Years Class
You will present your Rocket Review Paper:
o First member will present item on the front
o Second member will share the recommendations to next years
First Group Member Second Group Member Rockets NAME TIME
Fill out the Table Below for Rocket Launching
First Group Member Second Group Member Rockets NAME TIME