Reflection: Problem-based Approaches Air Rockets - Section 2: How To Build An Air Rocket


One of the struggles I have whenever I'm teaching engineering is whether I should have my students follow a set of strict plans with predicable results or should I give my student the design criteria and let them use their imagination to build and prototype a solution?

Based on my experience as a classroom teacher I have come to the following conclusions:

1) If you have limited time and/or material than I would have them follow a set of directions. Directions provide a predictable timetable to complete and you can accurately estimate what supplies will be need. Keeping the teacher in control of the projects direction. 

2) If you have twice as much time to dedicate to this project and have ample material for your students to choose from then I would recommend allowing them to free-build a solution. They will get more out of this experience then by following rigid plans, see Prototyping Paper Rockets.

Both these conclusions are valid, depending on your own set of experiences, comfort level, and supplies. As a teacher I tend to want to control the situation and have my students build from instructions, over time I have relaxed a little bit and let them free build. Whatever you decide - good luck and happy engineering!

  Should student engineers follow plans or be allowed to build what they think will work?
  Problem-based Approaches: Should student engineers follow plans or be allowed to build what they think will work?
Loading resource...

Air Rockets

Unit 12: Engineering and Design
Lesson 11 of 11

Objective: Students will be able to build a rocket with a sheet of construction paper and launch their rocket with compressed air.

Big Idea: Rockets are surpassing easy to build and modify in order to achieve impressive altitudes.

  Print Lesson
5 teachers like this lesson
  310 minutes
air rockets
Similar Lessons
Wind Turbine Blade Design Part 1: Define the Problem & Research Solutions
8th Grade Science » Engineering: Wind Turbines
Big Idea: In this first lesson of a unit on wind turbine blade design, students are presented with the problem of designing wind turbine blades that will produce the optimal amount of electricity.
Brookline, MA
Environment: Urban
Ryan Keser
Using Rube Goldberg Simulation to Demonstrate Understanding of Energy Transformations
6th Grade Science » Energy
Big Idea: Learning science should be fun and meaningful and this lesson provides students with that opportunity.
East Walpole, MA
Environment: Suburban
David Kujawski
Design Your Own Simple Machine
6th Grade Science » Simple Machines
Big Idea: Engineering practices come into play for this hands-on design lesson where students create their very own example of a simple machine!
Brooklyn, NY
Environment: Urban
Drewe Warndorff
Something went wrong. See details for more info
Nothing to upload