In this mixed scientific inquiry and engineer-design activity, students will refresh themselves on variables, read some background information about rockets relating to the center of mass and the center of pressure, and then proceed to a step-by-step activity of engineering simple paper rockets, using straws and paper. In the activity, they will test different variables one-by-one (noses, body length & width, fins & wings, mass, etc.) to see how the variables affect the flight of the rockets. Some variable experimentation is pre-determined and some leaves room for student freedom and choice. The activity can easily be made into a competition to build a rocket that launches the furthest and straightest distance!
The activity is simple but very engaging and fun for students. It is important to have access to some space for students to test their rockets (10-20ft aisle will work). It is a great way activity to help students understand the intersection between scientific inquiry and the engineer-design process!
The activity packet includes materials, directions, data collection sheets, background information, and reflection questions.