Step 1: How to make a Rocket?
We decided to check many videos and websites about air-pump-rockets. All of our air-pump rocket designs included a plastic bottle, fins, and a cork with a hole. You can test rockets designed from different sized bottles, and various numbers of fins. You can add a nose cone. Our children picked different sized plastics bottles. Some of them determined they could make their rockets safer in case of a crash into someone or something by adding a plastic ball or nerf gun darts instead of the nose cone.
You can check our favorite videos or websites about how to make an air-pump rocket.
First launch: Rapid testing is super important when designing larger projects. After making our rockets we went and tested them, determining how high and how far they could go. Some of our rockets went so far that they got lost in the river! We repaired those that couldn't be launched and came back to launch again later.
Second launch and challenge: We wanted to be able to take video from the rocket as it was launched in order to collect data about how fast our rockets flew. As a design challenge, we considered how to attach our phones to the rockets without damaging the phones. After several efforts, we determined we could create a parachute and add objects the same weight as our cellphone. We were inspired by this video: How to make a parachute from a plastic bag.
We launched our rockets again, tested the parachute, and made some repairs. Our rockets were ready for the final launch!!!
Step 2: How can we represent space?
We needed a method to measure how fast and far our rockets went. First, we tried to understand how the rocket moves through space. Imagine you need to explain a friend where a treasure is, and you need to send her a map. How are you going to explain the location of the treasure on the map? Invent you own representation! We learned that humans have invented a system based on coordinates X, Y and Z, that can tell us where objects are in space. We practiced representing different objects in space and using the X, Y, and Z coordinate system to draw figures. We also learned that we can represent the trajectory of our rocket with those coordinates.
step 3: How does it work?
Next we learned about force and gravity. First question: What is making the rocket go up? Just like a real life rocket, it’s the force of what is being ejected out the back that lifts your rocket towards the sky. Yes, it is the water. Compared to the bottle, the water is heavy, so pushing it out under pressure gives the bottle a quick burst of thrust. Streamlining the rocket’s shape by adding a nose cone helps the rocket fly faster by reducing air resistance, or ‘drag’.
Newton’s second law of motion states that force is equal to mass multiplied by acceleration, which means that the rate your rocket accelerates depends on its mass. This is why a lightweight rocket will accelerate faster than a heavy one under the same force. It’s a fine balance between carrying plenty of fuel while keeping the rocket light. You could try filling your water rocket with different amounts of water to find how much you need for your rocket to reach its maximum speed.
Rocket projectile simulation
Step 4: How can we Use technology to measure space?
How can we actually measure how fast our rocket went? How long was it in the air? Google Science Journal App can help us with this challenge. First you need an android phone with the app. Then you can go to their website and follow these instructions that will help you to understand how the app works and how we can use it to measure movement.
To get familiar with the data that Science Journal was giving us, we first use it to understand better how the cellphone moves if we drop it from a 5 foot distance. We create a new project in the app and record the data on the phone.