Lifelong Learning Programme

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.
This material reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein

Also available in: bg es it lv pl ro sk en fb


Homepage > Experiences > Teachers Experiences


Title of the Experience
Paper rocket
Name of the teacher
Aleksandar Angelov (center for creative education)
Country where it took place
School typology
High Secondary School
Thematic Area
Maths, Physics, Science
Experience typology
Teaching in class, Extracurricular activity
Type of contact
Description of the Experience
Objectives: To provide knowledge about rockets and aerodynamics through problem solving.

Description: Students build paper rockets and launch them using a hand pump.
Materials and tools:
• Paper
• Tape
• Scissors
• Rulers
• Pencils
• Cellophane tape
• Rocket forms (short PVC tubes with the same diameter as the launching facility – app. 1,25 cm)
• Launching facility – there are various versions at the market that are suitable for younger students. Hand pump versions are used only by teachers!
• Hand pump or electric compressor
• Safety glasses

Time frame:
Construction of rockets: between half an hour and one hour.
Rocket launch: It takes one hour for a standard classroom with 27 students. The time depends on the size of the classroom and the number of students.
Calculation of the reached rocket height (optional): half an hour.

Construction of rockets:
Use the instructions for constructing paper rockets.
Let students roll paper around the PVC tubes. Tubes serve as form around which rockets to be constructed. For best results the paper must be able to slide freely along the tube. The nose of the rocket must be attached tight to the body of the rocket.

Note: If the nose of the rocket is not attached properly, it will break loose and fly out or it will deflates when trying to launch the rocket. The rockets that are not designed properly can explode like confetti while launching.

Launch steps:
Follow the instructions. When the rockets are ready, follow these instructions:
1. Choose free space for launching. Although the rockets are made of paper, they can still hurt someone.
2. Prepare the launching facility and make sure that the launch tube is stands upright. If the wind blows you may need to adjust the angle to it.
3. Connect the compressor or pump with the valve of the launching facility. When the valve is closed pump 2.04 atmospheres. Watch how high the rocket flies and in what direction. Adjust setting and inflate up to 3.04 atmospheres. Try again and make final improvements.
4. Let a student prepare his/her rocket at the launch facility. If you use industrial startup device, students must be away from the launch site. If not, students can stand behind the startup device.
5. Start countdown. If you will measure how high the rocket will fly, then draw the attention of the students who will follow this so to ensure that they know when the rocket will fly.
6. Make sure only the owner of the rocket will seek it after the landing.

School tips for the teacher:
• Announce a competition for rocket project. Even if using of templates, each rocket will be different. Divide students into groups and give awards for the farthest or highest flight, where the pressure and the angle of launch are equal.
• Explore movement trajectory. Ask students to determine the angle of rocket launch so that they to travel maximum distance (45 º).
• Explore other options. What is the reason a rocket to fly higher and farther than the other? Do the conditions of rocket launch impact (for example on speed / direction of the wind and the direction of the start)?

Safety Rules
For all launches:
Do not lean over the startup device.
Wear safety glasses.

When using industrial startup device:
Do not inflate the startup drive more than half of the maximum value of the weakest part. PVC tubes and valves come with instructions for maximum pressure. If the lowest maximum pressure is 10.2 atmospheres, not inflate more than 5.1 atmospheres. This gives you extra safety.
Be careful when using the startup device. PVC material may crack if dropped or hit with great force. Replace the device if it is cracked.

Tip: Some teachers share experience that flights are better when launched at lower pressure. The more aerodynamic is a rocket, the faster it is. When start speed is greater, the stabilizers of the rocket might skew, which can lead to worse performance.

Comments on this Teachers Experience

In order to post a comment it is compulsory to be logged in.


Dissemination Seminar in Florence

31 October 2015 The seminar has been held in ITIS “A. Meucci” one of the schools involved within Goerudio project activities. Its main aim was to promote the results of the project toward a broad sample of stakeholders even overcrossing the number of people directly involved in the production of project outcomes. This purpose has been totally achieved especially thanks to the participation of students and teachers coming from different schools or from other classes instead of those ones directly involved within the project activities.