Rockets have fascinated children and adults for generations. From the firework rockets that the Chinese created centuries ago, to the first rocket to land on the moon, to our latest Mars explorers, we have invested a lot of energy into designing more and more sophisticated rockets. Though we find new ways of powering and building rockets, the basic principles of what they do is the same. In this Design It! project, children experiencing these basic principles as they design and test simple rockets made from drinking straws of different sizes and powered by nothing more than a push of air.
As in other Design-It projects, the children work together in teams of 2 or 3, troubleshooting and problem solving until they create the optimum rocket and launching system. As they work through the challenges in this Straw Rockets project, the children learn about experimenting, testing, making observations, asking questions, and explaining what they have done and why they did it -- the essential elements of critical thinking and the inquiry approach to engineering and science.