- Measuring, marking and cutting during assembly
- Reading a ruler
- Using trigonometry to measure the altitude a rocket goes
- Action / Reaction
- Thrust to weight ratios
- Forces acting on a body
- A body in free fall
- Drag coefficients
- History of rockets from the 10th century to today
- Robert H. Goddard, the Father of modern rocketry
- History of the U.S. Space program
- Historical significance of the Space Race
- Historical look at manned space flight
- Spin-off products and how they help every day life
- The many jobs created through the space program, both manned
- The beauty of outer space
- Earth as seen from orbit or the moon
- The poetic side of space flight
- Papers and essays with space or space flight as a main topic
- Posters and fliers to announce your upcoming class and launch
The list goes on and on, but I believe you see what we are
talking about. With enough fore-thought, you can involve any discipline into the
world of model rocketry. When forming a class, not everyone is going to want to
build, or be interested in the "rocket" part of rocketry. If you have
someone interested in wood working, maybe have them design and build the launch pad.
Electricity? The launch controller. Art and/or marketing, the posters
and advertisement of the event. English and/or journalism, have them write a paper
about your event and perhaps even interview some students.
In addition to these ideas, contemplate the value of a guest
speaker for your class. This could be an experienced rocketeer who can bring samples
to show and experiences to tell about. Other teachers to expound on the value of
rocketry in so many fields of study. A Senator or Congressman to explain the value
of our space program and how much our country is in need of aerospace specialists.
There are many people who can help add a great deal of value to your program. You
need only seek them out.
Possible class formats and ideas for your event:
- A formal introduction by either yourself or a guest:
- This can serve to introduce the group to model rocketry with
details about how a rocket works and the different designs that are available
- You can also use this as a place to introduce other subjects
intertwined with rocketry
- Describe the kit that they will be building, and how
- Explain the schedule and how things will progress
- This introduction can take less than 15 minutes or be carried
out over an entire class session as a prelude to the build session
- First build session:
- Our kits are designed such that the modeler has to do most of
the work. You will not find pre-assembled fin units nor pre-decorated kits. In
the act of building these kits, your students will have a much greater understanding of
what the parts are, how they are fabricated and how they attach to the model. For
this reason, it is recommended that the build session be broken up into two sessions (3 if
you intend to paint as a group) separated by at least a day.
- This build session would focus on the engine mount and either
the fins (cutting if applicable) and/or parachute assembly (if applicable)
- Second build session:
- This session can either be in the class as a group or at home
individually. Over the years we have had great success with children learning the
most about their model and rocketry in general if we have one build session to get them
started, go over the remaining steps verbally, then send them home to complete the models
on their own. In this light they now find themselves in a position where they must
read the instructions, and understand them, in order to complete the model. They are
invited and encouraged to invite friends and family to help and work with them as this is
a shared activity. The end result is a stronger student, and one that is more
excited about the result and outcome of his handiwork.
- If you choose to hold the second session as a group activity
you finish construction of the model (insert engine mount, attach fins, install recovery
- You then describe methods and techniques for finishing
(painting) which would take place in a 3rd session (or at home)
- Third (optional) session, Finishing:
- With this session, you can go from simple to complex.
- Simple session ideas:
- Decorate with markers (Sharpie markers are great for this)
- Decorate with water based art paints
- Decorate with stickers
- All of the above
- More complex session ideas:
- Seal all fins and nose cones, sanding and reapplying until you
get a glass smooth finish on all fins and nose cones.
- 2-3 coats of primer, sanding between coats (light coats are
- 2-3 coats of spray paint
- Allow to dry for several days if you wish to mask and apply a
- Be sure to announce this so that the whole school (or
associated groups) can watch!
- Get everything set up ahead of time so that you are ready to
- Select the order with which the students will fly
- Hand out all launch materials (motors, igniters, plugs,
wadding) and instruct them on how to prepare their rockets for launch
- Assign duties such as Range Safety Office (RSO), rocket
recovery team, reporter, photographer, etc
- Have the greatest time ever!
- Wrap up:
- Be sure to wrap up your rocketry segment with some follow on
- Test on the NAR Safety Code
- Test on model rocketry in general
- Follow on lessons on the space program or a specific mission
- Term paper
- These types of follow on activities will enhance their
understanding of the program as a whole and keep them interested in this and future such
Fast Track model rocketry class:
If you are in a situation where you simply do NOT have the time for a series of
classes spread out over several days or (preferably) weeks, you can still accomplish a
lot. This section will give you examples of how you can run a speedier build and
launch. PLEASE NOTE: This is not recommended as we feel that the student suffers in
the end in that they don't get the most out of the activity. Rather, this is
provided at the request of teachers who have contacted us with this very question.
- First and foremost: Build one yourself so
that you are intimately familiar with how it all goes together. If you have any
questions or concerns about the assembly, get them answered before your session with the
- Eliminate the use of white glue. Instead use
Yellow (carpenters) glue. If you have adequate adult supervision and proper safety
controls, you can use CA (Super glue)
- If the kit you are doing requires cutting with a knife (fins,
slits in motor tubes, etc), you can save time by doing these steps ahead of time,
eliminating the need for knives during the session.
- You can save additional time by cutting out any of the
patterns and guides (like Fin Marking Guides) ahead of time.
- Us quick drying water based art paints for finishing
- If you are within walking distance of your flying field, have
the kids prepare their rockets for flight in the classroom then walk out to the ready
field to fly.
- A typical "fast track" session may look
- 10:00 am - 10:15 am - Introduction. Explain event and
what you will be doing
- 10:15 - 10:30 - What is model rocketry, parts of a model,
model in flight, description of the model that they will be building
- 10:30 - 11:00 - Assemble motor mount (as applicable). If
time, begin fins
- 11:00 - 11:30 - Attach fins
- 11:30-12:30 - Break, time to let the fins dry. (Allow
two hours if possible)
- 12:30 - 1:00 finish assembly (parachute, shock cord, launch
- 1:00 - 2:00 - Break, time to let the other items dry (Allow
two hours if possible)
- 2:00 - 2:45 - Instruction on how to prep for flight.
Hand out motors, igniters, plugs and wadding and assist, as needed, model prep.
- 2:45 - 3:00 - Walk out to the field and prepare for flight.
(NOTE: Have a tube/bottle of super glue handy for those quick repair jobs!)
- 3:00 - 4:00 - Launch models. Depending on your setup,
experience and number of kids, you can expect to fly an average of 1 model every 1-4
minutes, assuming they are all prepared for flight
- 4:00 - 4:30 - Field clean up and session wrap-up.