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  • 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. This teaching sequence introduces students to the science concepts of thrust and mass.

    The learning outcomes of this teacher resource are that students will begin to understand that:

    • a rocket will launch and keep speeding up as long as the force pushing it upwards is greater than the forces pulling and pushing it downwards
    • a rocket produces thrust to start it moving by pushing against the gases inside the rocket
    • the mass of a rocket is important for two reasons – an object with less mass accelerates more quickly, and an object with less mass has less gravitational force acting on it.

    Students will meet these objectives by:

    • using skateboards to learn that forces come in pairs and that these forces are equal but opposite
    • designing and launching water bottle rockets
    • using a simulator to test how mass and thrust affect how high a rocket will travel.

    Download the teaching sequence (see below).

    Related collection

    3...2...1...Lift off! is a collection that supports the House of Science 3...2...1...Lift off kit which uses rockets as a context for learning about forces. This collection of resources covers NZC levels 1-4.

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      Published 12 September 2013, Updated 28 September 2018 Referencing Hub articles
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