Outdoor Lesson Ideas: Stomp Rocket For Teaching Science & Maths

Outdoor Lesson Ideas: Stomp Rocket For Teaching Science & Maths

outdoor lesson ideas

As much as Mark Mate is designed to help you in the classroom, not all lessons take place inside. Seeing as summer is still kind of here (allegedly), we wanted to continue our theme of outdoor lesson ideas. Today, we thought we’d explore some rocket science. Don’t worry though, you won’t need NASA-level experience for this fun and engaging science experiment. You’ll just need a group of willing students and a few easy-to-find pieces of equipment.

This outdoor lesson is aimed at students of any age and is great for expanding maths and science skills. It’s also a great way to launch (pun intended) students into lessons about space. Students will take time to learn about predictions, fair tests and measuring values. At the end, they’ll get to launch their own stomp rocket. Sounds fun, right?

The experiment includes a number of variables that students can choose from to investigate its impact on the distance travelled by the rocket. This helps to develop their maths and scientific investigative skills. The variables include number of fins, length of rocket, mass of rocket, angle of trajectory and force of the stomp. The experiment promotes the use of maths by measuring values such as angle, height, mass, time, distance or speed. Another interesting idea is to film the experiment with a slow motion camera (most current-era smartphones are capable of this), and use the video to refer back when you’re using these values in future lessons.

It’s a fairly simple lesson and you won’t need much equipment. What you will need is listed below:

  • 2L empty plastic bottles
  • Gaffer tape
  • Cardboard tube insert from kitchen foil or similar
  • Length of bike inner tube
  • Card
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Blue tack

What To Do For This Outdoor Lesson Idea

Making the launcher is easy. Simply connect the inner tube to the mouth of the bottle, then connect the cardboard tube to the other end of the tube. Secure both connections with the gaffer tape and you’ve got yourself a solid, sturdy rocket launcher.

For the rocket, roll a piece of card tightly around the cardboard tube to make the body of the rocket and secure it with tape. Make a card nose cone and attach it with tape. It can be weighted with blue tack for ballast. Attach fins to the rocket using the card and tape if desired.

Next, slide the rocket down the cardboard tube, angle the tube for the desired trajectory and stomp on the bottle to launch! To re-inflate the bottle for the next launch, simply blow into the tube.

This lesson would be great as a team-building exercise as well. Split your class into smaller groups and see which group can fly their rocket the furthest distance.

Have you tried this experiment in school already? How did you get on? Do you have any other outdoor lesson ideas that other teachers should know about? As always, we love hearing from you and getting your feedback so please let us know in the comments!

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positive review I've been using mark mate for about a year now. I've always found James most helpful. I had some issues with the speech recognition when I first set up on the old excel programme (it must be my strong mancunian accent!) James was quick to support.

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