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Newton's Laws of Motion and Force

Using Newton's Laws of Motion to predict the motion of a rocket.

Grade Level:

Grade 9

State Standards:

Essential Question:

How are scientific laws used to describe and predict the motion of a rocket?

Lesson Question:


For our culminating project we will be working in groups of two to make a rocket and launch it on the launcher shown below. (Instructions for making launcher ahead of time included in resource section).

How many of you think you can make a rocket out of paper that will go the length of a football field?

Do you think you can make it travel along a straight projectile?

If Mr. Newton were here in this classroom, what would he say are the variables affecting the rocket’s acceleration?

What other variables do we need to consider?



Lesson Experiences:

Day One

  1. Obtain a tablet and meet with your partner

  2. Start with a review of Newton’s Laws. Go to this website and click scatter Qwizlet of Newton's Laws and Forces. See how quickly you can correctly match the terms.

  3. Lets read the assessment rubric together so you are clear on the expectations

  4. Observe the rocket in the front of the room. With your partner, discuss:
    • How you think the rocket works
    • What is the energy source?
    • Where would you put the rocket?

  5. Each rocket team will get one 8.5 in x 11 in heavy stock paper to make a rocket. Try doing this own your own before looking for a template.

  6. Complete the rocket, name it, and get the mass in grams and convert to Kg.
  7. Record the mass on a data sheet you and your partner create.

  8. For homework, design a review game on Newton’s Laws on a Quizlet ((

    Follow instructions to log on.
    • The game should contain Newton’s 3 Laws and 2 examples of each, similar to what we did in class.
    • Include definitions of forces: gravity, friction, action-reaction.
    • Be prepared to present your Quizlet in class.

Day Two

  1. Complete a mini rocket launch in class to measure the rocket distance under 5 psi of compressed air pressure. Complete 3 trials and record your results in the data sheet you created.

  2. Use the above data to calculate the distance the rocket will travel under 60 psi. Try setting up a proportion: if distance is 3 yards with 5 psi, how many yards under 60 psi?

  3. Make final revisions on the rockets and prepare for launch day.

Day Three

Today We will launch rockets on the football field for ease of measurement.

  1. Each team is responsible for video-taping the launch, taking photos and measuring the distance traveled. Make sure you have the data sheets you created in class to record your results. How close was your distance prediction to the actual distance?

  2. As you upload your videos onto the class computer, use the tablets to answer these questions based on viewing this rocket simulation
    • What variables affect the motion of the rocket?
    • What causes the rocket to move?
    • What forces are acting on the rocket?
    • Explain how force and acceleration are related in the rocket simulation.
    • Can you draw any comparisons to your rocket?
    • Suppose the mass of the rocket were doubled. How would this affect the force needed to accelerate the rocket at the same rate?
    • Hand in answers to questions at the end of class

Day Four - Five

  1. As a class, we will watch and critique the videos of the rocket launch. You will each use your video and photos for the final product. Take a few notes on how you could improve your rocket based on what you observe.

  2. Use the videos and photos to make a presentation for the class. The presentation must include a definition in your own words of Newton’s Laws of motion, how the laws apply to the rocket, and at least 2 examples of other applications. In addition, you must include a mathematical example of the second law, Force = mass x acceleration and a free-body diagram illustrating the forces acting on the rocket at rest and in motion. To review free-body diagrams, go to the website .

For HW, complete the online Quiz at the bottome of the page.

  1. You can choose to make it in Glogster, a PowerPoint presentation or a Prezi .
    Your teacher will demonstrate the differences among these three forms of media presentation formats.


Students will be able to


You will be assessed on homework, class work, class participation, working as part of a group, and
your final presentation

Studensts will be able to..... STRONG GOOD ADEQUATE INADEQUATE
complete HW and class assignments Completes both assignments in own words with accurate examples Completes all HW, mostly in own words but attributes sources. Attempts to answer questions Answers less than half the questions.
Work as a part of a team to construct a functioning rocket Contributes ideas and helps to build rocket; completes on time Contributes ideas or helps to build rocket; completes on time Contributes ideas or helps to build rocket; does not complete on time Observes process; makes few contributions; does not complete on time
Documents process Takes appropriate videos and photos of launch to be used in final product Takes videos and photos that need some editing before final product Takes video OR photos Takes only one or 2 pictures
Create a final product demonstrating understanding of Newton’s 3 Laws Uses appropriate digital media format to describe laws and their applications; includes examples of F=ma uses real numbers.
No errors.
Uses appropriate digital media format to describe laws and their applications; includes examples of F=ma uses real numbers. Contains some inaccuracies Uses appropriate digital media format but descriptions and examples lack accuracy and completeness Uses appropriate digital media format but information is incomplete and or inaccurate.
Illustrate, identify and define forces acting on rocket with a free-body diagram Includes a photo, picture or drawing labeling forces acting on rocket including action-reaction forces Includes a photo, picture or drawing labeling most forces acting on rocket Includes a photo, picture or drawing labeling only force Names b does not label forces
Present final project to classmates Presentation illustrates a solid understanding of motion laws and their application to the rocket and other situations; accurately answers questions Presentation illustrates an understanding of motion laws and their application to the rocket and other situations; accurately answers most questions Presentation illustrates a partial understanding of motion laws and their application to the rocket and other situations; attempts to answers most questions Presentation is incomplete; does not demonstrate a complete understanding of how laws are applied in different situations.




This is an introductory course which means the emphasis is on conceptual understanding of motion laws.
Student’s mathematical experience at this level is limited to linear equations and motion.
The goal is to understand the relationship among variables force, mass, and acceleration.

The rocket launcher is easy and fun to make. Bring the materials list to a good plumbing supply store and they will help you buy the correct pieces.

Some misconceptions to be aware of: