Design Challenge: Rocket and Launcher

Image of rocket launching

STEM Topics / Areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • General Engineering
  • Physics

Relevant Standards

Target Grades



Informal activity; with family

Special Material Requirement


A rocket is composed of many specially designed parts and applies many physics concepts to function properly. This activity will highlight the physics of rockets and how various wing formations and designs can impact the flight of the rocket.

Mission: Design, test, and modify a rocket and a launcher until you are satisfied that you have the model that performsthe best.

Performance criteria: Aim for a design that gets good distance and accuracy. Accuracy means getting it to land close to the same spot each time.

Prompts and questions to ask the students

  • What is a rocket? What is a plane?
  • How do they fly? What is the science behind it?
  • How do they both take off? What is the difference?
  • Have you heard of aerodynamics?
  • How does the “air” support a rocket/plane?
  • Have you ever made a rocket/plane toy? What materials did you use? How far did it fly?