To the moon Alice! Our fourth graders have begun their first engineering project of the year. They are designing rockets (paper) that will travel to the moon. To hook the students I showed them the video To Moon, Mars and Beyond by NASA. It's an excellent video that shows what NASA is working on for the next stage of moon exploration. Using the Engineering process, students first asked the question: How can I create (build, design, make) a rocket that will fly?
Our next step was to plan....what type of rocket will we create that will fit onto our rocket launcher (oh yes, we have a rocket launcher!) and successfully fly? Students imagined what it would look like and planned the design alone or with a partner. Our Engineering lab has cushy seats for planning that we love!!!
On to the create phase....the only restraint that we gave them was that the rocket should fit onto the tube of the launcher. They had recycled paper, markers, glue guns, bottle caps, index cards, duct tape, craft sticks, etc... What would they create?
Our final step was to fly....you can find directions to make a rocket launcher on line. You need PVC pipe and a bike pump for the air pressure. This one was donated by our local University (University of Mary Washington). We have a partnership with Dr. George Meadows. The kids like this because it has a button to push and test! It makes a loud noise too (which adds to the fun!)