Ep.3: Rocketry

Rockets are vehicles that launch people and payloads into space. Newton’s Third Law of Motion is the principle of action and reaction. With rockets, the action is the force generated by the exhaust gases shooting out the back end of the rocket through the nozzle. This force moves the rocket in the opposite direction.


  • Sheet of paper
  • Two straws (one fits inside the other)
  • Tape and scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • Stopwatch

Download the student worksheet that goes with this lesson.

Rockets need fins for flight stability. During flight, a model rocket can wobble off course by wind. For a rocket to maintain stable flight, the center of gravity (CG) must be forward of the center of pressure (CP). If the nose of the rocket tips to the side during coasting or powered flight, the lift and drag forces move the nose back to the flight direction, meaning that the tail section of a stable rocket will swing the nose back to upright position.

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