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Forces and Motion

Forces and Motion

Potential energy builds in rollercoaster cars as they move up, and is transferred to kinetic energy as they race down.
© Tom Stazer

Mass, acceleration, change, momentum, Newton's laws, push, pull, friction, kinetic, potential

  • 3...2...1...Puff! (rocket stability)

    3...2...1...Puff! (rocket stability)Lesson

    Students learn about rocket stability by constructing and flying small paper rockets.

    Grades: 3-5 6-8
  • Arm Model

    Arm ModelLesson

    Students construct a model arm and learn how muscles and bones work together to achieve efficient movement.

    Grades: 6-8
  • Balloon Blast

    Balloon BlastLesson

    Students devise a plan to measure the distance of a balloon’s flight, predict the direction a balloon will travel as it deflates, and learn about Newton's Laws of Motion.

    Grades: 3-5
  • Center of Gravity

    Center of GravityLesson

    Students learn about center of gravity and how the body adjusts to the force of gravity to remain balanced.

    Grades: 6-8
  • Heavy Lifting (launching with payloads)

    Heavy Lifting (launching with payloads)Lesson

    Students design and build balloon-powered rockets with which to launch a payload to the classroom ceiling.

    Grades: 3-5 6-8
  • Hero Engine (third law of motion)

    Hero Engine (third law of motion)Lesson

    Students use the thrust produced by falling water to investigate Newton’s Third Law of Motion.

    Grades: 3-5 6-8
  • Launch Altitude Tracker

    Launch Altitude TrackerLesson

    Students construct a launch altitude tracker and use it, along with basic mathematics, to indirectly measure the altitude achieved by their rockets.

    Grades: 3-5 6-8
  • Newton Car (second law of motion)

    Newton Car (second law of motion)Lesson

    Students investigate the relationship among mass, acceleration and force, as described in Newton's Second Law of Motion.

    Grades: 3-5 6-8
  • Paper Rockets - Advanced

    Paper Rockets - AdvancedLesson

    Students design and construct advanced, high-powered paper rockets for specific flight missions.

    Grades: 3-5 6-8
  • Paper Rockets - Basic

    Paper Rockets - BasicLesson

    Students design and construct simple, three-sided rockets.

    Grades: 3-5 6-8
  • Paper Rockets - Intermediate

    Paper Rockets - IntermediateLesson

    Students construct paper rockets, fly them using the launchers built earlier, evaluate their rockets' flight, and modify their designs to improve flight performance.

    Grades: 3-5 6-8
  • Rocket Cars: Rocket Races

    Rocket Cars: Rocket RacesLesson

    Students learn about Newton’s Three Laws of Motion as they construct and test a lightweight “rocket” car propelled by the action/reaction force of air escaping from an inflated balloon.

    Grades: 6-8
  • Rocket Launcher (for all paper rockets)

    Rocket Launcher (for all paper rockets)Lesson

    Students create an air pressure launcher for use with their paper rockets.

    Grades: 3-5 6-8
  • Water Rocket Launcher (teacher only)

    Water Rocket Launcher (teacher only)Article

    Instructions for building and operating a platform from which to launch water rockets used in student experiments.

  • Water Rockets

    Water RocketsLesson

    Student teams construct water rockets from empty two-liter soft drink bottles, and qualify their rockets for flight by conducting string tests.

    Grades: 3-5 6-8
  • Wind Tunnel (performance tester)

    Wind Tunnel (performance tester)Lesson

    Students construct a wind tunnel to test the performance of their paper rockets, and use data generated from the test to help them design better rockets.

    Grades: 3-5 6-8
  • X-51 Project

    X-51 ProjectLesson

    Students apply rocket science principles to design, construct, test, and launch rockets using a real-world problem-solving simulation.

    Grades: 3-5 6-8

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