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How does a model rocket lift off the ground?

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How does a model rocket lift off the ground?

Sensemaking Checklist

What is Sensemaking?

Sensemaking is actively trying to figure out how the world works (science) or how to design solutions to problems (engineering). Students do science and engineering through the science and engineering practices. Engaging in these practices necessitates that students be part of a learning community to be able to share ideas, evaluate competing ideas, give and receive critique, and reach consensus. Whether this community of learners is made up of classmates or family members, students and adults build and refine science and engineering knowledge together.

Lesson Snapshot

Middle school students, as scientists, investigate forces to answer the following driving question: How does a model rocket lift off the ground? Students are introduced to a phenomenon by watching videos showing a successful model rocket liftoff. Students create initial models to explain why the rocket launched off the ground, using their understanding of forces. Students collaboratively plan an investigation of balloon rockets and use simulations to determine how the sum of the forces acting on an object affects movement. Students revise their models and use their understanding of balanced and unbalanced forces to explain why the rocket launched.

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Model Rocket Safety Storyline Unit

This lesson is one of seven lessons in the Model Rocket Safety Storyline Unit. Storylines start with an anchoring phenomenon that raises questions or introduces a problem. Each step in a storyline unit is then driven by students’ questions that arise from the phenomenon.

In this case, the anchoring phenomena are successful and unsuccessful model rocket flights. The first day of the unit allows students to consider what they do and don't know about model rockets and what they want to find out. This gives them a reason to investigate the science ideas that explain model rocket launches, flight, and landings. In doing so, they will make sense of Disciplinary Core Ideas related to physics, chemistry, and engineering.

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