Straw Rockets
5th Grade Math, Science, Technology
Learner Outcome: Students will be able to construct straw rockets and predict how to achieve the longest flight possible.
Set up:  Pairs of students design and build straw rockets, launch with a preset force, measure distance, record and check.
Objective:  Students can design, build, and test their own miniature straw rockets. They will conduct experiments by varying the trajectory angle.
Materials:  Pneumatic LEGO elements or straw rocket launcher (Pitsco-LEGO Dacta) 1/4 inch diameter straws,  3/16 inch diameter bendy straws, clay, scissors, clear tape, brown tape, paper, graph paper, pencils, protractors, rulers and yard sticks.
Teacher Note:  Clear a long area on the floor for landing and measuring.
Set up the launch pad on the floor or a table.  Guide the discovery process, check
to see all students have materials and sufficient access time with the launcher.

Straw Rocket Pump

Straw Rocket Lego PieceStraw Rocket Lego Piece

1. Build the launcher following the picture directions.
2. Cut the straw and stop up the end with clay.
3. Test different lengths, weights, and pick the best.
4. Test 90 degrees and describe horizontal displacement.
5-8. Test and  record the distance  for two trials of  0, 30, 35, and 60 degrees. Estimate , then measure lengths of distance traveled to the nearest 1/8 inch .
9. Average the distance in pair trails.
10. Collect all classroom data
11. Find the Mean (average) by hand and check by calculator, then  calculate and record in inches and centimeter.
12. Have two pairs of students input data in Corel Quatro Pro by having one student say and another input data.
13. Calculate means and display data for each trajectory angle.
14. Each student write up their science journals describing building and launching procedure..

Evaluation:  Students can identify 45 degree launch angle as giving longer flights than 0, 30, 60 or 90 degrees.

                                  Student's addition and division checks with calculator answers.
                                  Students can show the best outcomes on their graphs.

West Virginia IGO's Covered:

5.10 Use estimation to solve problem and determine reasonableness
5.14 Use computation , estimation, calculators nd computers to solve application problems
5.20 Solve problems by using guess and check, make a table, and find a pattern
5.23 Collect, organize and display, read a nd interpret numerical data, tables, graph
5.24 Find the Mean of the given set of data
5.26 Construct and interpret tables to draw reasonable inferences or verify predictions using available technology
5.29 Compare and measure acute angles using protractor
5.36 Estimate and measure lengths of real objects in parts of inch up to 1/8 inch
5.44 Compute and convert customary units of measure within the same system in problem-solving situations.
5.45 Select appropriate tools for measuring to desired degree of precision.
5.50 Use calculator to solve application problems
5.52 Use calculator to find Mean.
5.53 Use a calculator to convert customary units to metric units in problemsolving situation
5.54 Use graphing software to organize and display data by creating table and bar graph.
5.55 Practice inputting data using correct keying, editing and formatting techniques.


Picture Gallery:

Straw Rocket Supplies
Straw Rocket Supplies
Straw Rocket Ready for Challenge
Straw Rocket Setup
45 Degree Angle
45 Degree Angle
Another View of 45 Degree Angle
Setup From Another View
Pneumatic Pump Supplies Power for Launch
Pneumatic Pump Supplying Air Power for
Rocket Launch

Measuring the Distance the Rocket Flies
Recording the Data
Recording the Data

 Enrichment Activity:
Assign students to research on the Internet
and find another rocket design.  Allow time
to build and display rocket.

LEGO Links of Linda Hamilton


Created By:
Linda Hamilton
Laura Leadman
Sharon Simon
5/11/99 Updated 15 May 2001