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How to Build and Launch a Foam Rocket

How to Build and Launch a Foam Rocket Students launch their foam rockets at various angles to study rocket stability and trajectory while getting a hands-on perspective on key mathematical concepts. See video: How to Build and Launch a Foam Rocket

In NASA's "Foam Rocket" activity, students build rubber-band-powered rockets and launch them at various angles to learn about rocket stability and trajectory. This lesson provides students with an excellent hands-on perspective on key mathematical concepts as well as data analysis and reasoning.


Unifying Concepts and Processes
Science as Inquiry
Physical Science
Science and Technology
Number and Operations
Data Analysis and Probability
Reasoning and Proof


-- A 30 centimeter-long piece of polyethylene foam pipe insulation (for 1/2-inch size pipe)
-- Rubber band (size 64)
-- Styrofoam food tray (or paper plate)
-- Three 8-inch plastic cable wraps
-- 75 centimeters of ordinary string
-- Scissors
-- Masking tape
-- Meter stick
-- Press tack
-- Washer or nut
-- Quadrant plans printed on card stock
-- Experiment data sheet
-- Launch record sheet

> Video: How to Build a Foam Rocket


After students construct their foam rockets, it will be time for liftoff. This part of the activity should be conducted in a large room with a high ceiling or outside, if it's a calm day. Using the meter stick, quadrant plans, experiment data sheet and launch record sheet (all found in the activity PDF), students will launch their rockets at various angles and compare the distances traveled.

> "Foam Rocket" (PDF of activity and materials)