Newtons Laws Forces and Motion STEM Air Rockets Project MS-PS2-1


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Your students will never forget Air Rockets! Your fellow teachers and administrators will be in awe of your student’s engagement! Every time I do this activity my admin take pictures and post them on social media and pictures of Air Rockets always end up in the yearbook.

Just take a look at an email I received from a former student about her memories of the rocket lab and how it changed her life:

Hi Mr. Williams,
“How is Oak Crest lately?
I was in your physical science class a loooooong long time ago (2008) and I thought I’d let you know that your bottle rockets project was what first got me into space propulsion. It was my favorite project in middle school by far, and I hope you’re still doing it.
One thing led to another and now I’m a sophomore at Caltech studying applied physics, and I’m going to do research on micropropulsion systems at JPL for the summer. I think I even wrote about the bottle rockets on some college applications or something…
Thanks for everything!”

This resource takes my 8th grade students about one week to complete:

Part 1 Learning to Use a Clinometer 30 minutes

Part 2 Research 30 minutes

Part 3 Build and 1st Launch 60 minutes

Part 4 Redesign 40 minutes

2nd Build and Launch 60 minutes

Air Rocket Quiz 15 minutes

You get the following:

-29 slide teacher slideshow packed with teacher notes/tips, student instructions, pacing and links to both virtual and hard copies.

-Hard copies and virtual/Google Ready Copies


-Close reading and fill in the blank activity

-Google Form Assessment

Concepts included in resource:

-Newtons Three Laws



-Engineering Design Process





If you don’t already have an air rocket launcher, you can make one yourself, here’s a link. I spent $130+ for my equipment, but it’s well worth the cost and my school admin had no problem giving me the money for such great resource. For a different version that’s slightly less expensive for the equipment, take a look at my Water Bottle Rocket resource.

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NGSS Standards:

Performance Expectations and Disciplinary Core Ideas

MS-PS2-1. Apply Newton’s Third Law to design a solution to a problem involving the motion of two colliding objects.

MS-PS2-2. Plan an investigation to provide evidence that the change in an object’s motion depends on the sum of the forces on the object and the mass of the object.

· For any pair of interacting objects, the force exerted by the first object on the second object is equal in strength to the force that the second object exerts on the first, but in the opposite direction (Newton’s third law). (MS-PS2-1)

· The motion of an object is determined by the sum of the forces acting on it; if the total force on the object is not zero, its motion will change. The greater the mass of the object, the greater the force needed to achieve the same change in motion. For any given object, a larger force causes a larger change in motion. (MS-PS2-2)

· All positions of objects and the directions of forces and motions must be described in an arbitrarily chosen reference frame and arbitrarily chosen units of size. In order to share information with other people, these choices must also be shared. (MS-PS2-2)

Science and Engineering Practices

Asking Questions and Defining Problems

Planning and Carrying Out Investigations

Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions

Cross Cutting Concepts

Cause and Effect

Systems and System Models

STEM Roller Coaster Lab

NGSS Speed, Time, Distance, Acceleration and Graphing Worksheets

Physics Speed, Time and Distance Problems

STEM Paper Airplane Competition

Physical Science Scaffolded/Guided Notes for a Year + 8 PREZIS

Balloon Rockets Lab

NGSS Kinetic and Potential Energy Card sort

Forces Warm Up

Energy Warm Up

Roller Coaster Energy Warm Up


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