Content areas: This lesson integrates mathematics, science, language arts, problem solving, critical thinking and arts.

Background: As a teacher, I consider extremely important that a student be able to express verbally his/her ideas with supporting points. That is, if he/she tells me that "It is going to rain" I expect to hear the "whys", i.e., the reasoning behind that opinion. This lesson helps the children to use higher level thinking, improve their verbal and writing communication skills, and acquire more confidence on their mathematical and scientific abilities.

From mathematics, the students will have to use geometry, measurement, estimation and problem solving. From sciences, they will be observing, analyzing, making decisions and connections, and problem solving when applying the Third Law of Newton. From language arts, they will use their creation to explain to me what happened with their final product: if it worked, they have to write about it; if it did not, please explain what the problem was. Students will have the opportunity to improve their project by changing some variables according to their observations. Of course, they will have to justify they choide by providing me with a complete explanation of their work.

Description: I start with a simple activity such as making a 'paper rocket."

Materials : Students will need: a regular sheet of bond paper (scrap), a fat pencil (sharpened), ruler, cellophane tape, scissors and a straw (thinner than pencil).

Description : Students will be provided with the above materials. First, teacher will model the construction of the paper rocket. After this, the students will be able to make it on their own.


1. Cut a rectangle (13 cm x 2 cm) and roll it tightly around the pencil. Tape it and remove from the pencil.

2. Cut one end of the paper cylinder to make it a cone, and put it back on the pencil.

3. Slide the cut end onto the sharpened tip of the pencil, squeeze and tape the paper together in such a way that it is completely sealed forming a cone-shaped end.

4. Remove from the pencil and check the seal by gently blowing into the cylinder.

5. Draw and cut out two fins (see picture) and fol them as indicated. Tape the fins near the open end of the cylinder.

6. Slip the straw into the rocket's open end and flow sharply to launch the rocket. Make sure that the rocket is not aiming at anyone to avoid eye injury.

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These pages were developed through GirlTECH , a teacher training and student technology council program sponsored by the Center for Research on Parallel Computation (CRPC), a National Science Foundation Science and Technology Center. Copyright July 1999 by Juana A. Wilson.
Thanks to the RGK Foundation for its generous support of GirlTECH.