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(PART 2) Applied STEM: Rocketry and its Components

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Keywords: STEM, Rocketry, Aeronautical Engineering
Subject(s): No
Grades 6 through 8
NETS-S Standard:
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Research and Information Fluency
  • Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
  • Digital Citizenship
  • Technology Operations and Concepts
View Full Text of Standards
School: Stanton Middle School, Kent, OH
Planned By: Edward Hawks III
Original Author: Edward Hawks III, Kent
(Part 2 of Unit Plan)

II. Overall Goals
(What do you want the students to learn, including learning goals [e.g., academic, social, affective,
cognitive, aesthetic, and/or psychomotor goals]?)

By the conclusion of this unit of study, students should be able to apply math, science, and engineering, as they pertain to rocketry design, construction, and flight. Gifted & talented students should be able to apply their high cognitive skills with understanding and applying higher-level engineering concepts, using mathematical tools, calculations, and scientific creativity. Additionally, students should take with them a historical understanding of how early engineers tested, redesigned, and retested rockets to achieve accurate flight. Perseverance is also part of the overall goal, which is one of the affective domains used regularly in gifted education. (Sidebar: One never knows what spark of interest might lead a student to pursue the areas of math, science, and engineering. The interest of girls in math and science is also an affective part of the overall goal.)

II. Previous and Future Content
(What topics will be/have been covered to enhance this lesson?)

Students having an interest in rocketry, aerodynamics, construction, and flight will bring some basic information to the table, as they apply scientific inquiry, observation, investigation, problem-solving, and modifications to alter the trajectory, altitude, tangent, and speed of their vehicles, nominally/anomaly, center of mass, center of gravity, Pythagorean Theorem, right angles, base line, apogee, Algebra and Trigonometry to calculate angles (trajectory), circumference, diameter, radius, distance, velocity, rate of speed. Additionally, prior knowledge will enhance students‘¦ designs and model constructions from scratch.

III. Information
(What content/concepts will be taught and with what methods for this unit?)

This unit will incorporate applied engineering, mathematics, and science with rocketry design, proportions, aerodynamics, angle of trajectory, altitude, apogee, velocity, rate of speed, etc. Over time, students will construct, from scratch, a rocket worthy of being launched and passing all pre-tests for flight stability and safety. Data will be recorded and calculated. Subsequent design modifications, if any, will be applied, and new vehicles will be constructed and launched. The data from each launch will be compared with that of previous launches to indicate any changes in flight, altitude, apogee, angle of trajectory, rate of speed, etc. The data will be transferred to a spreadsheet, which will be converted to a visual graph. This will allow for a full evaluation of several rocket flights. The Scientific Inquiry standard will be applied to all levels of this unit. This will segue into our study of bridges and a spaghetti bridge competition.

IV. Materials and Technology
(List materials used during the lesson. Attach printed materials to be used with the students.)

„« pencils
„« engineering rulers
„« compasses with lead refills
„« different sized tubes
„« duct tape
„« scotch tape
„« scissors
„« X-acto knives with cutting boards
„« plastic pencil sleeves (from SMS vending machine) for launch lugs
„« hot glue guns and refills
„« cardboard boxes (corrugated and plain)
„« file folders
„« different sized index cards
„« DVDs and videos (snippets) used as reinforcement of both success and failures on the NASA launch pads
„« Digital video cameras (to record different angles of each launch for evaluative purposes so that students can capture every variable on video; this simulates how NASA has different camera angles with every launch so that any anomalies can be viewed and corrected for future launches)
„« TV/DVD/VCR combo
„« Voice-activated hand-held tape recorder for data collection
„« Motorola hand-held two-way radios for communication
„« Launch pad facility (Mantis) and controller with 12v battery
„« WD 40 and wash cloth (lubrication of launch rod to reduce drag)
„« (A, B, C, D, and E) Estes solid fuel engines, igniters, and plugs
„« Stop watches (2)
„« Electrical tape
„« Estes altitude tracker for rocket angle (degree scale to calculate altitude ‘V angle tangent chart)
„« Calculators
„« Digital balance
„« Standard Motor Codes handout (National Assoc. of Rocketry)
„« Estes Engine Chart included in students‘¦ NASA packets
„« Model Rocket Design and Construction: How to Create and Build Unique and Exciting Model Rockets that Work! (Pgs. 18-35: Stability & Drag Reduction and Aerodynamics ‘V copies for all students) ‘V included in students‘¦ NASA packets
Materials: Whiteboards, Video Cameras, Flash Memory Camcorders, Flip Video, DVD Camcorder, Hi-Def Camcorder, Digital Cameras, Digital Voice Recorders, Microphones, Electronics, Calculators, Middle School, CDs and DVDs, Camera/Video Accessories, Camera Bags, Flash/USB Drives, Tripods, Batteries, Memory Cards, Math, Middle, Science, Office Suite, Word Processor, Spreadsheet, Video Tools, Integrating Technology