If you have been on campus the past few weeks, you may have heard or seen bottle rockets flying through the air. While the bottle rockets were quite exciting for all to watch, the middle school students used them to review experimental design and the steps necessary to create a quality experiment.

To start this project-based unit, the sixth through eighth grade students looked at a few example experiments to identify variables, constants and controls. After a bottle rocket demo on the field, they came up with a list of variables to test to make the bottle rocket better. Next the students worked in small groups to design experiments to test specific variables. They focused on writing and following a detailed procedure, necessary for conducting and replicating their experiment. Once they finished designing their experiments they built their rockets and then began testing them and collecting data.

Once testing of the bottle rocket variables was complete, students analyzed their data to reach final conclusions about the variables tested. The middle schoolers then reviewed how to write a lab report, and wrote their first lab report of the year. Click here to view a sample report.