Saturday, September 7, 2013

DIY Stomp Rockets

Send your students SOARING into the school year with this DIY motion activity that will help your students fall in love with physics!

Ok...time to really get back into the swing of things!  After a wonderful summer with my family (and especially our newest addition) I'm ready to get back to the blog grind, and hopefully gather and share some ideas that will make this school year better for our students.  One of my favorite units of the year is Newton's Laws of Motion.  So I'd like to get my blog back in motion by sharing this Stomp Rocket DIY.  Who doesn't love getting kids up and out of their seats to explore science?  

Start by gathering the following materials:
- 7 feet of 1/4" vinyl tubing (1/2" outer diameter) 
- a 23" length of 1/2" PVC pipe
- a 1" length of 1/2" PVC pipe
- empty 2 liter soda bottle
- 4"x 6" index card
- a sheet of printer paper
- tape 
- a marker

Begin by tracing a half circle on the index card.  The diameter of your standard masking tape roll works really well.

Go ahead and cut out the half circle

By following the left to right sequence of images, transform the half circle into a nose cone!

Before discarding the remnants of the index card, cut out 4 fins, as shown.

The rocket body is simply made by wrapping the sheet of  printer paper around the PVC pipe and taping the seam, to create a paper tube.  Do not wrap too tightly, the completed tube should be able to easily slide off the PVC pipe.

Utilize more of the tape to attach the nose cone and fins to the rocket body. Now is a good opportunity for kids to decorate their rockets. For a fun competition, divide the class into two teams, and have each team decorate their rockets with a common theme.

To assemble the launcher, jam the vinyl tubing into the 1" PVC section, then slide the PVC into the bottle.  It should fit snugly, but will need some tape to keep it together while the bottle is being stomped on.
On the other end of the vinyl tube, just cram it into the 23" PVC pipe a few inches and the launcher apparatus is complete!

A fully assembled stomp rocket set.

The class competition involved using the stomp rockets to shoot down the opposing team's targets.  In this case we had the red team and the blue team.  ALL of the students loved this class activity.

The targets shown hanging from the ceiling, were 6", 10", and 12" squares cut from a sheet of 1/2" polystyrene insulation.  They were then adorned with construction paper squares to indicate each team, and hung from the drop ceiling with paper clips.  The paper clips were bent, so the targets would easily fall from the ceiling when struck by a stomp rocket.  Other targets such as soda cans on a desk, or file folders stood on edge would work just as well.

The rockets are capable of launching up to 50 feet, and travel very quickly.  Do not allow the students to shoot the rockets at each other.
The soda bottles will eventually rupture from being stomped on.  They usually last for about 40 stomps.  It is a good idea to have extra bottles and tape available for replacement.
Launching the rockets is best done by a team of 3 students.  One to aim the rocket, one to hold the air tube and position the soda bottle, and one to stomp on the bottle.

Help students make connections to the three laws of motion by completing this graphic organizer!

Click this link: 

Thanks for visiting Kate's Classroom Cafe.  I'm thrilled to be back to my blog after a restful summer.  Wishing you a wonderful start to the school year! 
Happy Teaching...


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