Balloon Rockets in 1D
In this inquiry activity, students solve a 1D motion challenge in groups. Students build their own balloon rocket from the materials provided with little guidance from the instructor. They collect data and prepare a position vs. time graph of their data. They determine the average velocity of their rocket.
Context for Use
Resource Type: Activities:Classroom Activity, Lab Activity
Grade Level: Middle (6-8), High School (9-12)
Description and Teaching Materials
Challenge: Build a balloon rocket using the materials provided that will race in only one dimension.
Materials: long, thin balloons; balloon pump; spools of string; markers; pencils; paper clips; tape; binder clips; stop watches; straws; scissors; measuring tools; and anything else a student group requests which the instructor may reasonably supply.
Teaching Notes and Tips
Some of the best rockets I've seen are strung on straws. Often students get a great rocket one try and then can't get the rocket's motion to be produced a second time. Thus, encouraging students to collect data for every trial may be fruitful for students who are receptive.
Describe your rocket design verbally or using a diagram.
3. Average velocity.
4. Graph of position vs. time.
5. Analysis of any errors you believe that may exist in your measurements.
9-12.II.D - motion