Free Online Resources for Learning about Rockets and Rocketry
What is a rocket? According to NASA, the word “rocket” can either refer to a type of engine or a vehicle that uses a rocket engine. Rockets are, of course, explosively interesting, but did you also know that there are good reasons to include rocketry as part of your homeschool curriculum.
Rocketry covers a variety of disciplines, including math and physics, and helps students to reach STEM educational objectives for middle school and high school. Rocketry provides hands-on learning and encourages students to be creative and develop problem solving skills. Did you know that students can even earn rocketry awards and scholarships that can help with college and vocational school costs? Beyond all of that, rockets are exciting, so your child will be motivated to learn about them!
Facts about Rockets for Kids
What is considered a rocket? What kinds of rockets are there? How do rockets work? Find rocket information for kids at these sites:
Basics of Rocketry (NASA)
Check out NASA’s collection of resources teaching about rockets and related concepts.
How Does a Rocket Work? (ESA)
Find the answer to this question and many others through the European Space Agency’s Kids’ site.
John’s Rocketry Site
John Coker is a rocketeer by hobby. Read about his own experiments and what he has learned through the process.
Launch Vehicles (NASA)
Learn about the launch vehicles used by NASA and the space programs of other countries.
Launch Your Amateur Rocketry Dreams (CP Technologies)
For your secondary student…. Find out about the Pathfinder Rocket project, learn how to make an amateur rockets bookset, try a rocket motor design class, or discover information about rocket design software. Did you know that even Robert Goddard began as an amateur rocketeer?
Model Rocket Safety Code (NAR)
Read these safety guidelines from the National Association of Rocketry (NAR) before beginning to build or launch your own model rockets.
Discover information about the force that pushes rockets forward and the systems that have been created to produce that thrust.
Find equations for “how to accurately predict speed and altitude for your rocket from weight, diameter, motor thrust and impulse.” Answer questions like, “How high will my rocket go?” This could be a great way to do math class!
Learn the basics of rocketry using NASA’s lesson plans, articles, images, and videos.
Rocketry Basics (NAR)
For your secondary student, here is a 12-page resource from the National Association of Rocketry (NAR) covering everything from how to build them to what makes them stable to how the motors work.
Saturn Rockets and the Apollo Program (NASA)
Find resources for learning about the Saturn V rocket, which was used for the moon landing missions, and other missions within the Apollo Program.
Rocketry Lesson Plans for Kids
Want to include rocketry in your homeschool STEM curriculum but not sure how? There are plenty of resources for educators (just like you!). Here are just a few:
Adventures in Rocket Science Educator Guide (NASA)
Download this guide featuring 25 activities, as well as information on the history and principles of rocketry. Discover what egg drops and rockets have in common!
Model Rocketry: A STEM-Based Curriculum
Use this curriculum to meet STEM learning objectives for middle and high school students. Produced by a professional educator, it focuses on “the process of designing and building a payload-carrying rocket for the Team America Rocketry Challenge.”
Rocketry—Lesson Plans (NASA)
Find lesson plans and educator guides to help kids learn about rockets here.
Rocketry Reservoir (Apogee Components)
Download “a free stockpile of resources for rocketry educators.” The download includes handouts, drawings, and quizzes, as well as pages of teacher references.
Simple Rocket Science (NASA)
Enjoy this science experiment to learn about Newton’s third law of motion and how a rocket works. Your child will predict the motion of a rocket and then do an experiment to check that prediction.
This is Rocketry (NAR)
Enjoy this 20-slide presentation on rocketry from the National Association of Rocketry (NAR). It was designed specifically for school-aged students.
Rocket Activities for Kids
Reading about rockets may be fun enough, but if your child wants to get more hands-on with rocketry, try building some model rockets and rocket launchers. Here are some fun activities to really light up your homeschool:
Build a balloon rocket while learning about force and pressure.
Beginner’s Guide to Rockets (NASA)
Become educated on the basic math and physics leading to the design and flight of rockets, kinds of rockets, and instructions for making and flying your own rockets.
Low Cost Rocket Launcher Plans (NAR)
Here are instructions and plans for making a fully functional launcher for just a few dollars.
Model Rocket Information (NAR)
What is the best way to build a model rocket? Find out tips and techniques from the National Association of Rocketry (NAR). Also check out the American Rocketry Challenge, an aerospace engineering design event for students in grades 6-12.
Kids Fun Pages (NAR)
For your younger kids who can’t yet launch their own rockets, NAR offers some fun activities to keep them busy on the flying field or during school time. Just scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the link to the Rocketry Range Scavenger hunt, Mars Rocket Maze, Rocketry Word Search, or Rocket Coloring Page.
Paper Tiger Model Rocket
Don’t want to spend a lot of money on expensive rocket materials? Try these plans for making “a low-cost tumble recovery rocket.”
Pencil Rockets (NASA)
Make a rocket using a pencil for the body and then launch it with a rubber band-powered launch.
Pop! Rockets (NASA)
Help your child build a rocket using a triangular cross section from three rocket-shaped strips of cardstock and then use the Pop! Rocket Launcher to send it up!
Learn about rockets in a hands-on way through games, image galleries, simulations, and videos.
Build a simple rocket with household materials and learn the basic principles of rocketry.
Explore this YouTube site to see videos of rocket tests and other footage of interest to amateur rocketeers.
Virtual Field Trip: Rocketry (NASA)
Get a group of ten kids in grades 6-8 and schedule a virtual rocketry field trip. “Learn about NASA’s Sounding Rocket Program, from design to launch at the Wallops Flight Facility. Investigate how rockets work and discover their purpose. Students can build a straw rocket and experiment with design changes to achieve their best possible launch.”
Rocket Scientist Facts for Kids
What kinds of careers can you have in the field of rocketry? Your aspiring rocket scientist may want to know. Check out these resources to find out about Robert H. Goddard, known as “The Father of American Rocketry,” and the careers of rocket scientists ever since:
Career Profiles (NASA)
Discover what it means to be an Aerospace Engineer or other career in the field of rocketry.
Future Rocket Scientists and Their Mentors
Read about competitions and programs where students learned from mentors in the field of rocketry.
What have you learned about rocketry online? Share your resources with us in the comments below….