The Eggonaut Rocket Project is a fun and hands on way for students to apply many science principles learned in class.
In this projects students use two 2-liter bottles to build a rocket, with the goal of launching the rocket as high as possible in the air, then deploying the eggonaut (egg) and parachute and returning the egg safely to the ground.
I make this project a competition where I rank the top 10 rockets by eggonaut time aloft and give those students a special reward. The competition aspect always brings out the best in my students.
Included in this project packet: Directions, criteria, and rules for the project. QR code videos that help students understand how the eggonauts work and how to design their rockets and parachutes. Grading scale I have used for years which requires students to meet certain criteria. Also included is the eggonaut rocket project launch day analysis, a follow up assignment I give students once they have completed their launches.
I have been teaching these concepts and using this rocket project the last 10 years but recently added QR coded videos to the packet to help student with their research and design.
The 2-liter bottle rocket launcher I use:
Science Principles discussed in the project: unbalanced forces, force diagrams, air resistance, gravity, acceleration, inertia.
Things I have learned from 10 years experience:
1. Use an air compressor not a pump. This will save a ton of time and effort.
2. Make sure the bottle that holds the air pressure and water has a ring of tape around the bottom of it and acts as a barrier that won't allow the nose cone portion to be pressed down and get stuck on the propulsion part of the rocket during launch.
3. Balancing your rocket helps with a smooth flight, make sure wings/fins are spread out evenly and that tape is used evenly.
4. 2-liter bottles that hold the water and air pressure work best when filled about 1/2 up with water.
5. Don't exceed 90 psi
6. Parachutes and egg containment/holders should fit loosely in the nose cone, if you have to stuff them in the nose cone they will likely get stuck and not fall out and deploy.
7. After students have completed the build of their rockets I hold 3 days of launches. Day 1 is practice launch, I use fake eggs (plastic easter eggs wrapped in tape) for them to get a practice launch in and allow them to modify their rocket as needed. Day 2 and Day 3 they can launch once per day for a total of two launches. I take the best of the two launches for their grade.
8. This is best done in partners or individually. I wouldn't suggest groups of 3 unless this would be done with 6th or 7th grade.
9. I get a couple volunteers (could be parents, national honor society students, etc.) to help out on launch day, process kids through the launch process, reset the launch pad and help pressurize the rockets.
10. Have fun! I do this with my freshman at the end of the 1st grading period and it is always a big hit!