Students are given a letter from a company (S.A.N.T.A.), hiring them as engineers. Students are asked to design an Alka Seltzer Rocket Toy for ages 6+. The toy must fly as high as possible, yet be safe for small children; it must be educational; and they are limited to simple materials. The class discusses variables that might affect the rocket launch height; the class is divided into groups, and each group tests how one of those variables affect the rocket launch. The groups come together and share out results, use all of the data to make a prototype, test the prototype, share results one more time, and then optimize their rocket design for the final launch contest.
The next part of the project requires students to market their project. Groups must design a box, instructions, and create a commercial to sell the rocket. Rubrics for each part of the project are created as a class. Once complete, the boxes, instructions, and commercials are shared with the class, and a “winner” for each category is determined.
This activity covers science (the chemistry of Alka Seltzer, parts of an experiment, data tracking, writing CERs), technology (making a commercial, creating a box and instructions), engineering (it's an engineering project at heart), and math (lots of graphing, measurement; conversions can be included). It also incorporates English (writing), communication (making a poster and sharing),and is so engaging that students don't even realize how much they are learning along the way.
My 9th grade students LOVED this activity, and I know yours will, too! I have included very thorough materials- the entire unit plan (including day-by-day lesson suggestions), answers for questions students have to answer on the student pages (which are set up for interactive notebooks, but can be modified as needed), rubrics, pictures of my students' work, and more. See the preview for more details. This unit will take 4-5 weeks.
Have fun! I know you will :).