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8.4: Materials and Resources

Difficulty Level: At Grade Created by: CK-12
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Teacher Resources

  • The Engineering Design Process
  • Rocketry: Equation Derivation
  • Numerical Simulations using Euler’s Method of Integration

Student Handouts

  • Reproduction Masters for Model Rocketry (Contains many useful student handouts; download at http://www2.estesrockets.com/pdf/2826REPRO.pdf)
  • Flight Fidelity Challenge: Part 1
  • Engineering Design Brainstorming Worksheet
  • Rocket Stability
  • Model Rocket Engine: Type A8 Specifications
  • Rocketry Spreadsheet: Student Guide
  • Flight Fidelity Challenge: Part 2
  • Model Rocket Engine: Type ½ A6 Specifications


Rocketry 101 An extremely informative overview of the basics of model rocketry, it is highly recommended for anyone who is unfamiliar with model rocketry.



NASA eClip: Launchpad: Designing a Capsule for Space

Explains why the Apollo capsule was shaped like a gumdrop and why the blunt-shaped capsule has been used for past and present NASA spacecraft. Also explains how engineers use the design process to help expand on the work others have done before them.


Please click on the video with the following caption: "Launchpad: Designing a Capsule for Space."

NASA eClip: Launchpad: Newton’s Laws On-Board the International Space Station

A good review of Newton’s laws of motion and how they are important to rockets and the International Space Station.


Click on the video with the following caption: "Launchpad: Newton’s Laws On-Board the International Space Station."

NASA eClip: Launchpad: Liftoff with Solid Rocket Boosters

Explains the cause of thrust as applied to model rocketry and extends this information by explaining the chemical reaction that occurs when liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen are combined to operate the space shuttle’s three main engines. See how this controlled explosion moves the shuttle up into orbit.


Click on the video with the following caption: "Launchpad: Liftoff with Solid Rocket Boosters."


  • Skill Level 1 Model Rocket (one per group)
  • Model Rocket Launch Set
  • A8- Model Rocket Engines (three per group, plus two spares)
  • ½ A6-2 Model Rocket Engines (one or two per group)
  • Supply of materials to build homemade model rockets (tubes, nose cones, plastic bags for parachutes, string, engine mounts, pre-made fins and/or balsa wood to cut out fins, rubber cement, wood glue, masking tape, straws, sandpaper). All the specialized supplies, such as fins and nose cones, can be purchased online; search "model rocket supplies" for retailers.
  • Optional: Materials to decorate the rockets, such as spray paint and decals
  • Materials to use as payload; ideally, some form of dense metal such as lead shot
  • Two handheld altimeters
  • Tape measure
  • Computers with access to a spreadsheet application

Supplemental Readings or Websites

Determine Maximum Altitude

A NASA resource that details the background and method of a more accurate method of determining the maximum height of a rocket using two independent observers: http://microgravity.grc.nasa.gov/education/rocket/rkthowhi.html

NASA Rocketry Teachers Guide

A comprehensive (150 pages) collection of activities and lesson plans that emphasizes hands-on science, prediction, data collection and interpretation, teamwork, and problem solving. The first part of the guide contains background information about NASA, the history of rockets, and basic rocket science: http://www.nasa.gov/audience/foreducators/topnav/materials/listbytype/Rockets.html

Estes Model Rockets

A website that has a large library of educator resources, including curricula, informational briefs, and student handouts. Supplies can also be purchased at this site: http://www2.estesrockets.com/cgi-bin/WEDU100P.pgm

Thrust Curve

Theoretical thrust curves for most engines sold for model rocketry: http://www2.estesrockets.com/pdf/Estes_Time-Thrust_Curves.pdf

Experimental thrust curves for most engines sold for model rocketry: http://www.thrustcurve.org

Estes Engine Charts

A chart that lists specifications of most engines sold for model rocketry, including mass of engine and mass of propellant. http://www2.estesrockets.com/pdf/Estes_Engine_Chart.pdf


Sources of Funding

Costs associated with starting or maintaining a rocketry project in your classroom can be partially or wholly offset by applying for mini-grant. Two organizations that offer easy-application aerospace mini-grants are listed below:

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    Date Created:
    Jul 27, 2012
    Last Modified:
    Apr 29, 2014
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