Student Projects

Actually, it is Rocket Science

Author: Bryan Harms

Grade: 8th

Subjects: Math, Science

Mr Harms, launching rocket.
Poster for rocket science project
Three students standing with their rocket

What is Motion and how to we create and control it?
How is the science of rockets the science of your every day world?

Working in teams, you will design and build rockets powered by water and pressurized air.  Using what you learn about the fundamentals of force and motion, you will design and build a fully functional rocket including:  payload compartment, propulsion system, recovery system and guidance system.   These words may look foreign to you now, but soon you will know them as well as any rocket scientist!

You will compete and be assessed on:
• How high your rocket goes.
• The effectiveness of guidance and recovery systems of your rocket.
• Overall creativity, aesthetic and thoughtful design of the final product.
Essential Questions
What is Motion and how to we create and control it?
How is the science of rockets the science of your every day world?
Project Assessment
All students will be responsible for understanding the science behind rockets.   This knowledge will be assessed in several ways including:
25 % Rocket Design, Creation and Performance
25 % Two Written Assessments
25 % Final Presentation and Manual
25 % Group Participation and Time Management
Extra Credit – Talking about the project with your family
The final products are:
The Rocket
Rocket Manual
Rocket Scientists’ Presentation
Project Teams
You will work in teams of 4 teams, which will be decided on by me.  You will be able to specify people who you feel like you would be productive with and people you feel like you will not be productive with.   You will send those preferences to me by tonight in an email with the subject heading:  “Team Preferences”.  You may specify one 2 people that you feel you work especially well with and two people you do not feel like you work well with.  I will not go out of my way to pair you up with friends unless you include information about why you have worked well in the past together.
The project-building phase is broken into two blocks of two weeks – four weeks of building in total.  Each two-week block will require your team to complete two of the four components.  At the beginning of the two-week block you will decide who is going to be working on each component and you will commit to that component in writing.
  1. The Rocket
  2. Rocket Manual
  3. Rocket Scientists’ Presentation
Force and Motion as it Relates to Rocketry and Your World
Motion, Mass, Scalars and Vectors, Units, Displacement and Distance, Speed and Velocity, The Relationship between Distance Rate and Time, Newton’s 3 Laws of Motion, Force, Inertia, Momentum, Gravity, Friction and Other Forces, Free Body Diagrams, Distance Versus Time Graphs, Acceleration, Energy, Work, Power
Rocketry
Space flight, Components of a Rocket, Becoming a rocket scientist
Incorporated Mathematics 
Ratios and Proportions, Percents, Fractions, Solving Algebraic Equations, Distance Rate and Time Equations, Exponents, Scientific Notation, Unit Conversions, Functions, Linear Functions, Slope, Graphing Functions
Science/Math Standard Descriptions Note
MOTION
8PC1. The velocity of an object is the rate of change of its position. Khan Videos:

1) Introduction to Vectors and Scalars

2) Calculating Average Velocity or Speed

Cartoon about the difference between speed and velocity.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDcaeO0WxBI&feature=related

8PC1.a. Students know position is defined in relation to some choice of a standard reference point and a set of reference directions. Frames of Reference Activity:

http://www.amnh.org/learn/pd/physical_science/week2/frame_reference.html

8PC1.b. Students know that average speed is the total distance traveled divided by the total time elapsed and that the speed of an object along the path traveled can vary. Khan Videos:

1) Introduction to Vectors and Scalars

2) Calculating Average Velocity or Speed

8PC1.c Students know how to solve problems involving distance, time, and average speed. Khan Videos:

1)Calculating Average Velocity or Speed

2)Solving for time

3)Displacement from time and velocity

8PC1.d Students know the velocity of an object must be described by specifying both the direction and the speed of the object. Khan Videos:

1) Introduction to Vectors and Scalars

2) Calculating Average Velocity or Speed