Exploring Newton's Laws of Motion

Simple staging rocket made of balloonsStudents of NASA Explorer Schools educator Dennis Hagen-Smith from Toluca Lake Elementary School completed the Balloon Rocket Experiment from the lesson Newton’s Laws of Motion: Lunar Nautics. This activity is a simple demonstration of rocket staging first proposed by Johann Schmidlap in the 16th century. Hagen-Smith’s students learned how rockets achieve greater distances through staging. They also found out that it takes an enormous amount of energy to boost an object into space.

Students were excited to see their balloon rockets move along the tether across the room as they recorded data from each group’s experimental design. As a follow-up extension activity linking social studies, students created timelines showing rocket development.

Check out the pictures from this lesson in the Balloon Rocket Experiment entry in the Lunar Nautics forum in the NASA Educators Online Network, or NEON.