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Rocket Riot

Students will learn the extensive preparation necessary for a rocket launch.


  • Students will develop rocket building companies (groups of 3 or 4).
  • Students will design, draw to scale, and construct a bottle rocket.
  • With a budget of $1,000,000.00, each company will develop a budget and plans for a bottle rocket.
  • Students will identify rocket specifications and evaluate rocket stability by determining center of mass and center of pressure.
  • Students will use NASA's RocketModeler Version 1.2 rocket simulator to evaluate their rocket's flight. This is accomplished by taking accurate measurements of their rocket and entering these values into the simulator program.
  • Students will successfully launch their rockets for maximum height.
  • Students will develop a cost analysis and demonstrate the most economically efficient launch.


  • Day 1- A request for proposals is given to students to develop a rocket, using materials from a specific list. Students form their companies, discuss design ideas, and make preliminary rocket sketches.
  • Day 2- Companies make their materials list and develop a budget.
  • Day 3- Companies begin buying materials and constructing their rockets.
  • Day 4- Building day
  • Day 5- Finish building rockets
  • Day 6- Begin rocket silhouette construction to find center of pressure and begin rocket analysis. Use RocketModeler Simulator to evaluate rocket stability.
  • Day 7- Complete prelaunch analysis and simulation evaluations.
  • Day 8- Launch Day!
  • Day 9- Complete paper work on post launch results.

Sunshine State Standards

  • MA.7.A.1.6
  • SC.C.1.3
  • SC.C.2.3
  • SC.H.1.3
  • SC.H.3.3

NETS Profiles for Technology Literate Students

  1. Use content-specific tools, software, and simulations (e.g., environmental probes, graphing calculators, exploratory environments, Web tools) to support learning and research.
  2. Select and use appropriate tools and technology resources to accomplish a variety of tasks and solve problems.
  3. Research and evaluate the accuracy, relevance, appropriateness, comprehensiveness, and bias of electronic information sources concerning real-world problems.
  4. Collaborate with peers, experts, and others using telecommunications and collaborative tools to investigate curriculum-related problems, issues, and information, and to develop solutions or products for audiences inside and outside the classroom.


  • Copy/team of NASA's Project X-35
  • 2 liter soda bottles
  • 1 liter soda bottles
  • Aluminum soda cans
  • Cardboard
  • Duct tape
  • Electrical tape
  • Water
  • Clay
  • Plastic garbage bags
  • String
  • Safety glasses
  • Bottle rocket launcher
  • Altitude calculator


  • We have used a variety of flight objectives in the past which include hang-time (designing different recovery systems such as parachutes), payload protection (launching a raw egg), and accuracy (aiming at targets).
  • After observing all the rockets launched, teams could be given opportunities to make modifications and redesign their models.

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