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With the Balloon Rockets Guided-Inquiry Kit for physical science and physics, build a balloon “rocket” that will travel across the classroom. Learn how to design an experiment while investigating Newton’s laws of motion.

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It’s the return of the space race! Challenge your students to build a balloon “rocket” that will travel across the classroom. This hands-on, inquiry-based lab will teach students how to design an experiment as they investigate Newton’s laws of motion and rocket thrust. Students tether a balloon to fishing line stretched across the room and then must find a successful combination of orientation, drag and thrust that will launch the balloon across the room. The task requires students to run various trials and then modify their balloon rockets based on what they learn in each trial. A fun and stimulating lab that your students will never forget! Includes detailed background information, instructions and valuable Teacher Notes with teaching tips and answers to pre- and post-lab questions. 

Complete for 30 students working in pairs. A balloon refill package is available separately.

Correlation to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

Science & Engineering Practices

Asking questions and defining problems
Developing and using models
Constructing explanations and designing solutions
Obtaining, evaluation, and communicating information

Disciplinary Core Ideas

MS-PS2.A: Forces and Motion
MS-ETS1.A: Defining and Delimiting Engineering Problems
MS-ETS1.B: Developing Possible Solutions
MS-ETS1.C: Optimizing the Design Solution
HS-PS2.A: Forces and Motion
HS-ETS1.A: Defining and Delimiting Engineering Problems
HS-ETS1.B: Developing Possible Solutions
HS-ETS1.C: Optimizing the Design Solution

Crosscutting Concepts

Patterns
Cause and effect
Structure and function

Performance Expectations

MS-ETS1-1. Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.
MS-ETS1-2. Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
MS-ETS1-3. Analyze data from tests to determine similarities and differences among several design solutions to identify the best characteristics of each that can be combined into a new solution to better meet the criteria for success.
MS-ETS1-4. Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.
HS-ETS1-2. Design a solution to a complex real-world problem by breaking it down into smaller, more manageable problems that can be solved through engineering.
HS-ETS1-3. Evaluate a solution to a complex real-world problem based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs that account for a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics, as well as possible social, cultural, and environmental impacts.