Water Rockets: How high can a model water rocket fly? Creative Commons, Attribution + Noncommercial + ShareAlike (BY-NC-SA)
Authors: Eugenides Foundation
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This challenge introduces students to the fields of aeronautic and mechanical engineering through activities that underpin the science concepts of inertia and Newton’s Laws of motions. As students engage in the Engineering Design Process to design a water rocket, they will identify the problem, brainstorm, design, synthesize solutions and test and improve their own water rockets. Water rocket making is an activity with a wide range of applications. The challenge can be implemented from schools to science museum and science fair workshops. The primary aim of this activity is to motivate students and young people to become interested in science and engineering. In general, water rockets can trigger and develop young people’s curiosity while making the process of learning about science much more attractive.

Knowledge acquisition gain
  Skills: Introduction of the world of design process and on how engineers work / encourage problem-solving skills / practical application of science and math in engineering / developing critical thinking / support teamwork, motivation, troubleshooting and learning from failure / understanding of the materials and their role in the engineering process. Science concepts: Newton’s first Law, Inertia, Newton’s 2nd Law: F=m*a, Acceleration, Newton’s 3rd Law: Action-Reaction, Gravity, Aerodynamics, Stability, Center of mass, Center of pressure, Friction-Drag , Pressure: Water is highly incompressible, Rocket propulsion, Resistance, Free Fall, Terminal Velocity, Gravitational Acceleration, Acceleration.

STEM careers and labour market.

There are numerous scientific, engineering technological elements which are involved in the development of actual rockets. Some of them are the following:

Material Engineering: Material engineers play a crucial role in the process of rocket making since they study and analyze the properties of materials that the frame and skin of the rocket will be made of. The frame is constructed from very strong but lightweight materials, like titanium or aluminum. The skin of the rocket may be coated with a thermal protection system to keep out the heat of air friction during flight and to keep in the cold temperatures needed for certain fuels and oxidizers.

• Propulsion and Combustion Engineering: Engineers who develop the engine that produces the thrust and study the fundamental principles of turbulent combustion and its application to propulsion systems.

• Aerodynamics: Scientists and engineers study the aerodynamic behavior of rockets during flight. Aerodynamic forces are generated and act on a rocket as it flies through the air. Understanding the motion of air around an object (often called a flow field) enables the calculation of forces and moments acting on the object.

• Control Engineering: Control engineering is the engineering field that deals with the application of control theory in order to design systems with desired behaviors. Control theory is a branch of engineering and mathematics that deals with the behavior of dynamical systems with inputs, and how their behavior is modified by feedback.

• Flight Analysis: Scientists and engineers who calculate and analyze the rocket’s flight performance. Theory and analysis is applied to several different flight regimes: (1) flight within the atmosphere, (2) near space environments, (3) lunar and planetary flights, (4) sun escape.

  240 min
Number of staff
Education Level
15-18 years
Science Discipline
Classroom use
Supervision required
Teacher supervision required
Knowledge prerequisites
Technical requirements
You'll need to buy some materials
Installation effort
No installation required on typical computer

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