Model rockets are a fun hobby for people of all ages. Some hobbyists enjoy the construction and painting of the models, others prefer the launching and recovery of the rockets, while most enjoy doing both. The easiest to use model rockets come fully assembled and ready to fly. Others require extensive model building experience. There is a wide range of skill levels inbetween. It is important for all model rocket enthusiasts to carefully follow the safety guidelines included in every model rocket kit.
How Rockets Work
You can make a very simple kind of rocket out of a balloon. Just fill the balloon with air and let it go. The air pushes out of the mouth of the balloon and the balloon flies.
The balloon is a compressed air rocket. When you blow into the balloon, you force a relatively large amount of air into a fairly small space. The balloon stretches and the air is compressed. The balloon and the air push against each other.
If you untie the neck of the balloon, the air escapes outward. The same force with which it pushes through the neck is exerted against the inside of the balloon in the opposite direction, so that the balloon flies forward if released.
Rockets work in the same way as the balloon. It is the same principle expressed in Sir Isaac Newton's Third Law of Motion: "For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction." This means that movement in one direction (air rushing out backward) causes movement in the opposite direction (balloon moving forward).
Compressed air is a kind of propellant. Most rockets contain fuels that are burned as propellants. This produces hot gases that escape out of a rear vent, forcing the rocket upward.
www.rocketarium.com - A wide selection of model rockets: sport fliers, military scale replicas, even multi-stage and cluster rockets. There's something for every rocketeer and every budget.
http://www.flyrockets.com - An introduction to sport, amateur, model & high power rockets and rocketry.
http://www.nar.org - The National Association of Rocketry can get you connected to the cutting edge of the hobby so you can learn how to fly higher, faster, and better. Includes a copy of the Model Rocket Safety Code.
http://library.thinkquest.org/10568 - Beginners tutorial on building your own rocket, advice on how to design one, and a physics lesson on aerodynamics.
http://aeroconsystems.com/cart/descent-rate - Model Rocket Descent Rate Calculator (enter your rocket weight and parachute diameter, and it will predict the speed at which the rocket descends).
Download a free copy of Physics and Model Rockets: A Teacher's Guide and Curriculum for Grades 8-11 at: http://www2.estesrockets.com/pdf/Physics_Curriculum.pdf
Check out this page of free Educator Publications from Estes Rockets: http://www2.estesrockets.com/cgi-bin/wedu001P.pgm?p=publicat (Includes a "Rocketry 101" illustrated introduction to model rockets, a model rocketry study guide, model rocket research projects, model rocket mathematical calculations, rocket engine info charts, a guidebook for organizing and operating a model rocket club, and much more.)
1 prepared ice cream cake roll (1-1/4 pounds)
Place the ice cream roll vertically on a 10-inch plate. Frost top and sides. From blue construction paper, cut out four fins about 2 1/4 in. high and 1 1/2 in. deep. Insert fins along bottom edge of cake. For the nose cone, draw an 8-inch circle on red construction paper. With a pencil, mark eight equal sections. Cut out a three-eights section and discard; tape cut sides together to form a cone. Place on top of the cake. Serve immediately.
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Below are a couple of uplifting videos involving rockets. Both movies demonstrate the value of teamwork and focus on reaching a goal.
October Sky (1999-PG) is the true story of a teenage boy (Homer Hickam) who dreams of building a rocket. Hickam's story begins in 1957 with Russia's historic launch of the Sputnik satellite.
Apollo 13 (1995-PG) is the true story of the problems encountered with a Saturn V rocket bound for the moon in 1970. NASA's worst nightmare turned into one of the space agency's most heroic moments.
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