3, 2, 1, Blast Off! – Beasley Pop Rockets Explain Newton’s Laws of Motion

By Laura Pupillo, Lower School Science Teacher

On July 30, 2020, NASA launched the Mars Rover, Perseverance, on its Atlas V-541 rocket. Months later, on February 18, 2021, Perseverance finally made its contact with Martian soil. This event called for a celebration at MICDS!

In 3rd grade science, Beasley students have been exploring forces and motion—and pop rockets turned out to provide the perfect setting for our celebration of rocket science. Additionally, rocket science allowed us the opportunity to experience firsthand Newton’s Three Laws of Motion:

  • Newton’s First Law: Every object in a state of uniform motion will remain in that state of motion unless an external force acts on it.
  • Newton’s Second Law: Force equals mass multiplied by acceleration (f = ma).
  • Newton’s Third Law: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Building the Pop Rockets

The mere act of launching connects to Newton’s First Law of unbalanced forces. Newton’s Second Law of Motion states that acceleration is connected to the force applied on the object and its mass. The success of our pop rockets and their launch height was directly connected to the amount of gas formed in the canister. Finally, in Newton’s Third Law, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Our rockets traveled upward with a force that was equal to the downward force of the water, gas, and lid.

Launching the Pop Rockets

Needless to say, 3rd graders had a blast building and launching their rockets, all while learning about Newton’s Laws. Perhaps one of them will become an astronaut on Mars one day!