Illustration courtesy of G.L. Vogt, EdD.
Students apply rocket science principles to design, construct, test, and launch rockets using a real-world problem-solving simulation. Student teams form rocket companies and compete in a commercial endeavor to construct rockets capable of launching payloads, astronaut crews, and even space tourists to Earth orbit.
This activity calls for a strong interdisciplinary approach, balancing science with technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), as students develop a budget, purchase construction materials and track expenditures, while designing and constructing their rockets, test the rocket for stability and fill out specification sheets. Teams also will launch their rockets and conduct a cost/benefit (altitude vs. cost) ratio.
The "Project X-51" activity is from the Rockets Educators Guide. Although grade levels are suggested, small modifications will enable more complex activities to be used successfully with other grade levels for observation, demonstration or complete lessons.
Funded by the following grant(s)
This publication is by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA Kennedy Space Center, and released into the Public Domain. Permission is not required for duplication.