rockets in space

Hi CMP family, for this session at Tinker Hollow we were learning about Rockets and Space. We explored the planets and watched a homemade rocket fly. Some of the children also dressed up as rockets or went to the moon in our silver rocket ship. On the Moon and Billie’s Outer Space Adventure are the books that we read to help with our exploration of Rockets in Space…

child in rocket suit at preschool
child in rocket suit at preschool 2
child in rocket suit at preschool 2

If your child would like to hear the stories again, luckily, they are available on YouTube:

child in rocket at preschool
children in rocket at preschool
boy in rocket at preschool
boys building rocket at preschool
boy with completed rocket at preschool
boy creating rocket launch
boy creating rocket launch

“Moon Rocks”

The children learned that the moon has no air, no plants, no people or animals (Aliens may be on the dark side of the moon though). The moon has lots of rocks and dust. Gravity is what keeps us from floating away and that on the moon we could bounce really far. We painted and glittered our very own “moon rocks”. I did have a couple children tell me that they went to the moon with their parents when they were on vacation, so cool.

girl painting moon rocks at preschool
girl painting moon rocks at preschool 2
boy painting moon rocks at preschool

Shape Rockets

I gave the children all the shapes that could make a shape rocket ship or they could cut them as well. Triangles, rectangles and some cellophane, don’t forget the glue and scissors.  They were able to pick a blank piece of paper to create their very own shape rocket or they used a NASA template to fill in with the shapes.

shape rockets
boy drawing shape rockets
girl drawing shape rockets

Balloon Rockets

The Balloon rockets were easy to make but we discovered it was very hard to blow up the balloon.  This would be a great activity to make again with your child so they can really fly. To make the rockets you need a straw, a balloon, some tape and small triangles cut from paper or card stock.

  1. Cut the open end of the balloon off, just a bit.
  2. Take your straw and put it in the balloon and then tape the balloon to the straw. Make sure to seal the tape so no air will escape.
  3. Next take your triangles and tape them to the straw. These will form the side fins of the rocket, attach at least an inch from the bottom so you can blow into the straw.
  4. The rocket is now ready to fly, you just need some rocket fuel (Air). Fill up the balloon by blowing into the straw. Place your finger on the bottom of the straw to hold the air in and then just let go. The rocket should fly all around.
  5. Enjoy the flight.

Our very first exploration mission, Rocket Launch

The kids said the best part of this lesson was the space rocket launch on the soccer field. The children wanted me to do it over and over again.  I made my rocket out of a plastic bottle, duct tape, sticks, a wine cork, and paper. I used a small plastic bottle that was from a hand soap but you can use a larger soda or water bottle as well. Our propulsion system is a little vinegar and baking soda. With this activity the children are learning engineering skills while building the rocket, aerodynamics, chemical reactions, fine motor skills, laws of motion and that science is fun! I know your children would like to make their own rockets with you.

  1. Find a cork that fits tightly in to the bottle top.
  2. Next, we add the support legs. I used three sticks of equal length. You can use four sticks as well, for a more stable resting rocket. Make sure to leave enough space between the rocket and the ground, about 4-6 inches should be fine. Tape the first one and then add each leg checking to see that they are all equally spaced. After I knew they were all equal, I taped again all the way around the bottle. (More tape is always better with this project)
  3. Now it’s time to decorate the bottle so that it will look like a rocket or you can leave it undecorated so you can see the chemical reaction inside the bottle, which is pretty cool too. I used silver duct tape and yellow duct tape. It is easy and stays put even after getting wet. I added fins, the pointed top and even a small window (do not cut bottle, just cut a circle with the tape). You can also paint the rocket if you have acrylic paint. Other paints just flake off the plastic bottle.
  4. Ready to make it fly! We need more rocket fuel, not air this time. You will need some vinegar and baking soda. You need to make a baking soda burrito, take a paper towel or napkin cut in half and fill with baking soda, roll and put to the side. Next add some vinegar to the bottle. You do not need to fill the bottle, depending on the size bottle, you just add about a 1/4 of the bottle or less. (this step is where you can play with the amounts and see what happens, I found that less vinegar makes the rocket fly higher as there is more room for the gas to form). Add the baking soda burrito, cork it up, and place on the launch pad. (Shake the bottle before placing if you are adventurous) Start your count down and watch it fly. The children were also reminded that things don’t always go how we think and that’s OK. Sometimes the rocket took forever to take off and then other times the rocket took off the minute I put it down on the launch pad. Over all this was a fun activity and I highly recommend you try it at home.
finished rocket

If you are interested in the history of rockets, NASA has some great resources and you can check how did rocket science develop from ancient times until today.

brief history of rockets – NASA Search Results

 

Explore more and create more:

 

Stomp Rockets

Educator Guide: Stomp Rockets | NASA/JPL Edu

Simple Rocket Science

Educator Guide: Simple Rocket Science | NASA/JPL Edu

Soda-Straw Rockets

Educator Guide: Soda-Straw Rockets | NASA/JPL Edu

Space program making history, such exciting times with the landing of the Mars Rover this month!!!

LIVE: Landing of the Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover | NASA