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DIY Space: Stomp Rockets – Make the Rocket (Part 1)

February 29, 2020


Rockets: everyone finds them fascinating
and NASA uses them to launch satellites into Earth orbit and travel to other
planets like Mars. But are they really safe to use in the classroom? Well, some of them are and we’re here
today to help you build a simple PVC stomp rocket launcher for use with your
students. The purpose of this activity is to
engage students in Engineering Design Process of creating a model to meet
specific design constraints and then testing that model. Encourage students to
build a rocket, test it, compare its performance to others in the class, and
then create a better rocket that will fly higher and farther than the first. Of
course everyone always wants to know how high the rocket traveled, so we’ll do the
math too. And trust me these rockets can fly. Whenever you engage in any sort of
science or engineering project be sure to follow proper safety procedures so no
one gets hurt. For the launcher you will need: several lengths of half-inch PVC pipe, two T connectors, two elbow connectors and two end caps. You’ll also need an empty two-liter
bottle and some duct tape. Now let’s go ahead and assemble this
launcher according to the directions. Here’s your completed launcher, all ready for a
rocket launch. We just need a rocket. The rocket will go on the launch tube like
this and be ready to go. So let’s talk about how to build a rocket now. For the
rocket will need some paper. You can use copy paper, construction paper, pretty
much anything you have. You’ll also need either masking tape or
scotch tape, a pair of scissors and a pencil. You first use an extra piece of
PVC pipe that is of the same diameter as the launch tube on the launcher. Take
your paper and roll your fuselage. Fuselage is a French word for “body of
the rocket.” You want this to be snug on the launch tube but not too tight. When
you get it on there put a few pieces of tape along the seam. Now you want to use enough tape so that
your seam ends up being airtight. Tape the rocket paper to itself, not to the
launch tube. And then you have a fuselage. Next you want to seal off one end of the
fuselage. A couple of different ways to do that: simplest way, just pinch it, fold it
over and put on a piece of tape to hold that down. You can get fancier and make
an actual nose cone but this will function and work just fine. The next
thing you need to do is build your fins. You can make round fins, square fins,
triangular fins, any shape you want. I am going to make some triangular fins.
Easiest way for me to do that is to cut a square out of our paper and then to
cut the diagonal of that square so that you then get two identical triangles. Then
each of these going to become two fins. The line of symmetry on the triangle
drops from the apex to the base. I’m going to fold the triangle parallel to
the line of symmetry a few millimeters to each side. So then you get something like
this. This can then be placed on the bottom of your rocket. Fins act as a
stabilizer and they create drag when your rocket is launching through the air. So you want them on the back end of your
rocket to drag the back end behind the nose. Make sure the tape extends little bit on the top bottom. Position that set of fins,
and again we will tape that to the other side. That’s your basic standard rocket. Now if
you’d like to make a nose cone you need to make a circle first. I’m going to use
my masking tape roll to make a circle and then cut that circle out. And then
fold it in half so that you pinch the middle. Fold it in half again, pinch the
middle and you end up finding the center of the circle. Then cut toward the center. Don’t go all the way
through. And cut toward the center and you’ll end up with three quarters, or a
wedge of your circle out. You can bring this together and you can make nose cone. Now it’s kind of hard to put a nose cone on when the rocket is folded over like
this, so what I’m going to do is I’m going to
undo that fold since I’m going for the nosecone, put my tape over right here. Now
I can make that airtight with another piece of tape. Put your nose cone on top of
your rocket. Tape it down so that it points directly up and you’ll end up
with a nice pointy top. And there you have your rocket.

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