Using model rockets to teach physics can be an effective way to engage students in learning. In this paper, we present a curriculum developed in response to an expressed need for helping high school students review physics equations in preparation for a state-mandated exam. This required a mode of teaching that was more advanced and analytical than that offered by Estes Industries,1 but more basic than the analysis of Nelson et al.2,3 In particular, drag is neglected until the very end of the exercise, which allows the concept of conservation of energy to be shown when predicting the rocket's flight. Also, the variable mass of the rocket motor is assumed to decrease linearly during the flight (while the propulsion charge and recovery delay charge are burning) and handled simplistically by using an average mass value. These changes greatly simplify the equations needed to predict the times and heights at various stages of flight, making it more useful as a review of basic physics. Details about model rocket motors, range safety, and other supplemental information may be found online at Apogee Components4 and the National Association of Rocketry.5
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PAPERS| September 01 2013
This Is Rocket Science!
Phys. Teach. 51, 362–363 (2013)
Wayne Keith, Cynthia Martin, Pamela Veltkamp; This Is Rocket Science!. Phys. Teach. 1 September 2013; 51 (6): 362–363. https://doi.org/10.1119/1.4818377
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