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ARTICLE

Non-Newtonian fluids

Many people have heard of Sir Isaac Newton. He is famous for developing many scientific theories in mathematics and physics. Newton described how ‘normal’ liquids or fluids behave, and he ...

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ARTICLE

Calculating rocket acceleration

How does the acceleration of a model rocket compare to the Space Shuttle? By using the resultant force and mass, acceleration can be calculated. Forces acting The two forces acting on rockets at ...

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ARTICLE

Brief history of rockets – timeline

This timeline looks at some of the historical aspects of rockets - taking science and technology to new heights. 1232 - Chinese fire arrows The first true rocket is invented by the Chinese. Fire ...

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ARTICLE

Lift-off

A rocket will launch and keep speeding up as long as the force pushing it upwards (thrust) is greater than the forces pulling and pushing it downwards (gravity and drag). Newton’s first law ...

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ARTICLE

Getting rockets into space

Rockets launched into space can be suborbital (brief visit to space) or orbital (staying in motion around the Earth) or can escape Earth’s gravity to travel deeper into space. What is space? The ...

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ARTICLE

Rockets and mass

The mass of a rocket is important for two reasons – an object with less mass accelerates more quickly, and an object with more mass has more gravitational force acting on it. To understand these ...

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ACTIVITY

Launch simulator challenge

In this activity, students use a rocket launch simulation. They change variables such as thrust to make a rocket go as high as possible. By the end of this activity, students should be able to ...

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ARTICLE

Viscosity

If you poured some water down a slope, it would flow freely and quickly, but what about if you repeated the process with honey? Can you imagine how honey would flow down a slope? Sticky oozy ...

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ARTICLE

Types of chemical rocket engines

Chemical rocket engines use a fuel (something to burn) and an oxidiser (something to react with the fuel). Together, they are referred to as the propellant. As the propellant reacts inside a ...

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ACTIVITY

Balloon car challenge

In this activity, students design and build a balloon-powered car to better understand the science ideas related to rocket propulsion. They use ideas of mass and force to work out ways to improve ...

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ACTIVITY

Water bottle rockets

In this activity, students make a water bottle rocket. They investigate the variables that affect the height and distance travelled by the rocket. By the end of this activity, students should be ...

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ARTICLE

Rockets and thrust

What is a rocket pushing against to make it start moving? Is it pushing against the ground? The air? The flames? To make any object start moving, something needs to push against something else ...

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Investigating rockets – introduction

Rocket science includes ideas of forces and motion, how rockets work and some of the challenges for those wanting to make rockets go faster and higher.  In the last 60 years, rocket science and ...

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ARTICLE

Sir Isaac Newton

Born in England in 1643, Sir Isaac Newton could easily have ended up as a farmer instead of becoming one of the world’s greatest scientific minds. When his mother tried to convince him to become ...

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ACTIVITY

Introduction to rockets and space

In this activity, students view a PowerPoint presentation introducing some rockets, their purposes and distances travelled in space. By the end of this activity, students should be able to ...

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ARTICLE

Liquids

Liquids are one of the states of matter – the other states are solids, gases, plasmas and Bose-Einstein condensates. The simplest way to determine if something is a liquid is to ask this ...

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ARTICLE

Strange liquids – introduction

Liquid is one of the states of matter, and viscosity is a property of liquid. Some liquids display strange behaviour because their viscosity makes them flow differently to ‘normal’ liquids. When ...

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ACTIVITY

Investigating rocket motion

In this activity, students investigate the motion of a rocket using a spreadsheet with graphs of motion included. They adjust variables and investigate how height and speed are affected. By the ...

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ARTICLE

Rocket control

University of Canterbury PhD students Malcolm Snowdon and Avinash Rao are developing flight control systems for rockets. They use electronic sensors to measure any changes in motion so that ...

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ACTIVITY

Effervescent canister rockets

In this activity, students make an effervescent canister rocket using baking soda and vinegar. They develop their understanding of rocket propulsion and investigate the amount of vinegar that ...

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ARTICLE

Investigating rockets – question bank

An inquiry approach is a method often used in science education. The question bank provides an initial list of questions about rockets and places where their answers can be found. The article ...

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