Rocket Fact Sheet
Rockets are propelled forward by gas or liquid being expelled backwards. Rockets
work on a fundamental law of motion defined by Sir Isaac Newton in 1686: that is,
there is an equal and opposite reaction for every action (force). In essence,
the rocket fuel is exploded in a controlled way so that the exhaust gas or
liquid is sent streaming down out the rocket nozzle and thus causing the
rocket to accelerate up.
Rockets are usually shaped like an arrow - long and slender bodies with fins
at the bottom. This shape provides stability for flying straight and low
air resistance for flying fast.
NASA uses rockets to place instruments into orbit around Earth, to send
instruments to other planets, and to make measurements of the Earth's
Introduction: Balloons, water bottles, and model rockets are launched to
demonstrate the basic physics of rocket launches.
Procedure: Balloons filled with air are launched (released). The balloons
fly forward but in a random direction as they lack fins. Water bottles that
are filled with water and have fins attached are pressurized with a bicycle
tire pump. When launched, the water bottles fly up releasing water over
the students (best for a hot day). Eastes model rockets are similar to
the NASA rockets in that their fuel is a small, controlled explosion (adult
supervision required). The Eastes model rockets can go 1/2 mile or higher,
and re-entry is usually with a parachute.
101 Rockets in 1998
Bear Creek, Martin Park, and High Peaks Elementary third
graders launched over 100 rockets on May 19-20, 1998. They
built their own rockets using Eastes Gnome rocket kits the previous week.
All rockets were successfully launched although a few took a couple of
launch attempts. All rockets were recovered, even the one that landed
on the school roof.
Click on the pictures to view them at higher resolution.
Steve Hill and Stan Solomon with Bill Dennler's Bear Creek class.
Stan Solomon and Steve Hill with Tracee Vickery's Bear Creek class.
Launch time at Bear Creek.
Erica Rodgers and Frank Eparvier with Jean Walsh's Martin Park class.
Tom Woods and Wendy Sweet with Sally Hofmockel's High Peaks class.