The final water rocket launch is Thursday May 20, 2010. You are to look at the pictures and videos to see how to improve your rocket. Remember the contest is to have the tallest rocket that flies the highest. If you stick a wire on top of the rocket solely for decoration it's length will not be counted in the height measurement. The height will measured from the ground to the highest structural part of the rocket.

This one YouTube video shows ALL of the rockets taking off -UP CLOSE. It is about 5 minutes long.

If your rocket is not one of the 15 we launched in the videos, then there is a reason. Check out the trouble shooting tips to find out what may have gone wrong, (Click here.) Remember the purpose of the first launch was to learn what works and what doesn't.

Click here to see numbered still images of the rockets that we were able to launch.

Below is a list of videos showing each rocket launch from FROM A DISTANCE. Here is a construction tip. Build it like an arrow. Don't build fins that are too tiny. Put your fins at the bottom of the rocket-only. Build it taller than two bottles. Add some mass to the nose cone to stabilize the flight after the water runs out. Do some research ...Really.

The videos below are avaibale in HD. Click on the "HD" button in the movies play bar. Each video below is about 20 seconds long and will open in a new window.

You may choose one of two events.

There is a water rocket at school you can use as a model or research 2 liter water rockets on Google or YouTube. There is a lot of information out there.

Event #1
Objective: In this contest, you are to design the tallest 2 liter water rocket that flies the highest
  • NOTHING on your rocket can be made from metal or wood greater than 1/8 inch thick.
  • The fins must be attached using “duct” tape or Gorilla™ tape. No other type of tape can be substituted.
  • You can attach the fins with adhesives.
  • No metal is allowed on any part of the rocket.
  • The body of the rocket must be made from parts of 2 liter bottles. Use ONLY 2 liter bottles.
  • Each water bottle rocket will be launched with a pressure of 50 psi.
  • Each water bottle rocket will contain a minimum of 100 ml of water at launch. But you can request an amount greater that this.
  • No recover system is needed.
  • A successful entry must fly at least 2 meters above the ground.
  • The top of the rocket is measured to the highest point -other than pole like protrusions.
  • A launch system will be provided by the school.

The winner will be determined according to the following formula

        Points = (standing rocket height in meters) x (flight height)  You will be compared to the other contest entries.

Event #2
Objective: In this contest you are to design a water rocket that is to have the longest time in the air.
  • Time in the air is measured from the launch to when the main body of the rocket stops descending.
  • The rocket can be filled with any amount of water. If no water amount is specified, 100 ml will be used.
  • The rocket bottle body must be at least 1 1/2 bottle high and made from 2 liter bottles.
  • You must follow all construction tips above.
  • No metal is allowed on any rocket.
  • Consider using a parachute recovery system to maximum time in the air.
  • Use www.youtube.com for research by searching water rocket construction or water rocket parachute.
  • All rockets will be launched at 50 psi.
  • A launch system will be provided by the school.
The winner is determined by the rocket with the longest time in the air.
The contest is May 18th or 19th during 8th period.
All groups must do at least one research launch. The research launch is before school on May 13th and 14th -depending on weather. (You do not need to be present for the launch.) Students are to submit a rocket and launch it. The altitude will be tracked and reported. All results will be posted online so all students can use results as research for a final design. You may not use this rocket as your final rocket. You can use the same design but not the rocket used for the research launch.


Construction tips
  • You can use corrugated cardboard but make sure you cover up the leading edge of the fins with tape or something. This will reduce air resistance.
  • Examine the water rocket bottle in the classroom.
  • Fins should extend out from the bottom of the bottle so they do not get hung up on the launcher.
  • Adding a few ounces of water weight to the top of the rocket will increase its stability and help it to go higher.
  • "PL Adhesive" from Lowes will stick the fins on the rocket really well. LIGHTLY wet the bottle where the fins will be attached. PL adhesive is a polyurethane glue. It is activated by moisture. Even the moisture in your hands will activate it. WEAR LATEX GLOVES. Less glue is better than more. It cures to 90% strength in 4 hours and 100% strength in 12 to 24 hours depends on humidity. Humidity help it to cure. Read and follow the instructions on the tube.
  • You can attach fins on with good duct tape or better yet, Gorilla™ tape. DO NOT attach the fins with masking tape or Scotch™. These tapes will not hold the fins on during the high acceleration of the launch.


Grading Rubric


Successful lab according to its rubric


A flight height at least 5 meters above the ground
Distributed according to the contest's flight rules for maximum height or time aloft. The rocket with the maximum height, (or time aloft,) will be given 5 points. all other rockets will be given a percentage of points as compared to the maximum rockets height.
  If you violate any of the construction rules you will lose 15 points


by Tony Wayne ...(If you are a teacher, please feel free to use these resources in your teaching.)

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