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.
STANDARDS TAUGHT: Unifying Concepts and Processes Science as Inquiry Physical Science Science and Technology Number and Operations Algebra Geometry Measurement Data Analysis and Probability Reasoning and Proof Communication Connections
MATERIALS: -- 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)