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Great Abington Primary School

Y4 are Rocket Engineers - March 2011

Science Week has offered lots of activities in the Cambridge area and last week (25th March) Y4 visited the Engineering Department at the University. Their mission was to be rocket engineers and construct a rocket and a stable launch pad before putting the rockets to the test outside in the courtyard.


The launch pads were constructed from 3D shapes made from rolls of paper and the children learned that trianglular shapes are the strongest for this. The paper tubes were joined by using nuts and bolts in holes punched at the ends.

Rolling the paper tubes.
Punching the holes for the bolts.
Punching the holes for the bolts.
Linking the tubes together into triangles.
Then 3D shapes were made from the triangles.
Most designs used tetrahedrons.
Testing the potential weight-bearing ability
Will the structure support the launcher?
All the launch pads were tested rigorously.
We learned that not all parts of the structure are necessary. Some paper tubes could be cut without affecting the support of the launcher. This would mean a cheaper product could be built as less raw material would be needed.
Different designs...
Next we started to make the rockets. These were also made from paper tubes but with an air-tight nose cone and fins for stability in flight.
Fitting the nose cone.
The rockets were launched in the courtyard. We had to prime the launcher by pumping air to compress it.
Countdown 5...4...3...2...1...

Can you see this rocket? It is on its way down after climbing higher than the whole Engineering building!