from Come Fly With Me – Exploring Science through aviation and aerospace concepts.

SUBJECT: Science
GRADE: 7,8,9
TIME: Several 45 minute periods TYPE OF ACTIVITY; Student Activity
TEACHING STRATEGY: Guided Discovery Expository
CONCEPTS: Circuitry, Remote Control
SKILLS: Construction Reading and Interpreting Diagrams
Objective: To apply basic circuitry concepts to the production of a practical, electrically controlled launch system for model rockets.

Materials: (For each system to be wired) several feet of bell wire; electrical tape; two alligator clips (small); two – 6 volt light bulbs; two light bulb holders; 2 toggle switches or one toggle and a push button type switch; wood to construct a box to hold the wiring or an electrical hobby box of the type available at an electronics supply store; screwdriver; wire strippers; (optional) soldering gun and solder.

launch system wiring


You may proceed in one of two ways for this activity, depending on time and how open-ended you wish to be.

1 Have the students investigate the requirements of a launch circuit and the availability of diagrams which may help them. A source may be a local model rocket club, a company that produces models such as estesrockets.com or a local hobby shop.

1 Use the diagram which follows this lesson plan.

2. Have the students interpret the diagrams to produce their circuit.

3. Test the circuits and use to actually launch a model produced in lesson # 9.

4. Have the students discuss the need for the safety features found in most circuits and have them build one into their own if they have not.
Extensions: Have the students find and report on information about the actual launch control systems used by NASA. If you have a science club or a group of advanced students, they may wish to investigate and build a remote, perhaps radio-controlled launch system.

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