Bottle Rocket

1. Define the Problem

What need or want must be met by the solution?

make a bottle rocket

2. Brainstorming

In the space provided, sketch three possible solutions to the given problem. Remember to be creative!

3. Research and Generating Ideas

In the space below, document your research. Be sure to include proper citations at the end of your notes.


  • the first form of the rocket came from the greeks
  • American technical societies made the first motor powered rocket
  • germans had the idea to put a rocket into space
  • russia was the first to put a man in space
  • forces of a rocket- thrust, drag, lift, weight
  • force influences the rocket by direction and speed
  • rocket always rotates about the center of its gravity
  • pitch and yaw will cause the biggest change in the path of a rocket
  • we live in the troposphere
  • weight= mass*gravity
  • center of gravity is the balance point
  • when the wind hits the center of pressure it causes the rocket to rotate about the center of gravity
  • center of gravity has to be above the center of pressure
  • first recovery system is the lawndart- the rocket fall nose first to the ground, because the center of gravity is closer to the nose
  • the second recovery system is tumbling- spinning and rotating back to earth, this happens due to a small positive or negative static margin
  • third is backsliding- when it fall tail or nozzle end first to the ground, this happens due to a high negative static margin
  • drag depends on velocity
  • drag> weight
  • drag force decreases until the drag is equal to the weight
  • when drag= velocity the rocket falls at a constant velocity(it is no longer slowing down)- this is the rockets terminal velocity
  • two reasons why the parachute: 1. the space inside of the nose cone tube may be too small 2. mass of the ping pong ball is too small
  • rocket rotates about the center of gravity
  • the force of drag acts through the center of pressure
  • greater static margin= more stable flight


4. Identifying criteria and specifying constraints

What are the criteria and constraints?

Materials List

  • pepsi bottle
  • ping pong ball
  • balsa wood
  • water
  • cone tube
  • parachute
  • cone translation

5. Exploring possibilities

Reflect on your brainstorm ideas and research notes. Generate any additional designs which you feel meet the criteria and constraints in the space below.

having a pepsi bottle worked better than all of the other bottles, and having a long nose helped the rocket to go higher. a big parachute causes the trip on the way down slower and helps it have a longer time in the air.

6. Selecting an Approach

a. Enter the constraints of the project in the first column.

b. Score each sketch for each constraint. + = 3 pts., √=2 pts., - = 1 pt. c. Total the columns and circle the highest score.

7. Developing a Design Proposal

Take your highest scoring sketch and create working drawings (sketches with dimensions, so that you could build your project). Attach your working drawings to this sheet.

8. Making a model or prototype

In the space below, document (using digital pictures) your construction of the model/prototype. Be sure to include a picture of the final model/prototype.

9. Testing and Evaluating the Design, using specifications

As you create your solution, you will perform tests to make sure that the solution is meeting the needs of the given problem. If you solution does not work, you may need to repeat the previous steps of the Engineering Design Process, until you find a functional design. In the space below, document the type of test you conducted and the results.

10.Refining the Design

Based on your tests, propose refinements to the design and construction of the design problem in the space below.

tape the tube on so that it doesn't fall off and the parachute will come out. make the ping pong ball heavier.

11. Creating or Making It

If time allows, modify your model/prototype as proposed in refining the design. What additional steps would be necessary to produce this solution for mass market production?

there would need to be an easier and faster way to cut out the fins and the parachute, and a better way to get the fins stick.

12.Communicating processes and results

Present your completed design portfolio as an oral presentation to the class.

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2 years ago