16. MODEL ROCKET CONTEST

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

SUBJECT: Science
GRADE: 7.8.9
GROUP SIZE: Large
TIME: % DAY
TYPE OF ACTIVITY: Game Simulation
TEACHING STRATEGY: Expository Guided Discovery
CONCEPTS: Launch Safety, Altitude, Trajectory
SKILLS: Control of Variables Following Directions
Objectives: To apply skills and concepts learned about rocket flight to the solution of a specific challenge in a model rocket contest; to apply the safety rules of model rocket flying during actual launches; to apply the concept of Control Of Variables to achieve an approximation of a specific objective with a model rocket.

Materials: Students with model rockets; a launch system for every 5 to 10 students; tape measure; two or three red flags and stakes to nail them to; stop watch; data scoring sheet; a big field and a nice day.
Teacher Background Information:

A FUN culmination to the building and testing of models is to actually fly them. A contest with specific tasks to prepare for is a way to have students “put it all together”. The following rules and contest descriptions are just two of several ideas for rocket competition. If you want more information, the Estes company in Penrose, Colorado has a booklet, contest forms and award certificates available. If you have Science Olympics in your area, the directors may have suggested rules for competition. You may wish to use the school competition as a way to prepare for a larger meet between schools from many areas. A model rocket group in your area may be willing to assist you.
Procedure:

The rocket contest will consist of two events. Individuals or teams may enter one or both events.

A TEAM may consist of no more than FOUR contestants. The winning team score for any event shall be the sum of the points for each individual launch. Team members must launch two rockets within the launch window provided for them during the contest. If a team member’s rocket fails to launch after two tries the rocket will be disqualified. Another rocket may not be substituted. A team may enter one or both events.

AN INDIVIDUAL may enter one or both events. Awards will be made for each event. An individual’s rocket will be disqualified if it fails to achieve launch after two tries.

ALL TEAMS AND OR INDIVIDUALS MUST REGISTER FOR THE ROCKET COMPETITION PRIOR TO THE DAY OF COMPETITION so that launch planning can take place.
General Information

  1. All model rockets entered in the events will be subjected to a safety inspection prior to launch.
  2. Only standard model rocket engines will be allowed. No engine larger than a Series DQ may be used.
  3. All launchings shall be made using electrically operated igniters.
  4. Only safe recovery systems will be allowed on the rockets. Safe recovery includes PARACHUTE, GLIDER, TUMBLE, and STREAMER type recovery. Any deviation from these standards will result in the automatic disqualification of the contestant.
  5. All launches will be made from a standard launch platform. The launch rod will be 1/8 inch in diameter, 36 inches in length.
  6. The launches will be made outdoors. In the event of rain the contest will be delayed or canceled.

No launches will be made if the wind speed exceeds 12 kilometers per hour
THE CONTESTS

1. DRAG RACE

In this event a model rocket is launched which has been designed to:

  • a. achieve flight
  • b. deploy a recovery system and…
  • c. land in the shortest time possible.

Remember a safe recovery system must be used. Points will be awarded for each second of flight beginning with ignition and ending on impact. The lowest score wins. In the event of a tie, additional points will be subtracted for good design and creativity.
2. SPOT LANDING

A selected landing point somewhere within a radius of 10 meters of the launch site will be marked with a flag. The winner will be the rocket which lands the closest to the flag. In the event of a tie, additional points will be awarded to the rocket which achieves the greatest time aloft and for design.

  • a. Safe recovery systems must be used. The recovery system must have deployed before descending below 15 meters.
  • b. The launch rod may not be adjusted to an angle of more than 25 degrees from the vertical.

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