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ERIC Number: EJ832003
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Jun
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-1051-1970
How High? How Fast? How Long? Modeling Water Rocket Flight with Calculus
Ashline, George; Ellis-Monaghan, Joanna
PRIMUS, v16 n2 p121-137 Jun 2006
We describe an easy and fun project using water rockets to demonstrate applications of single variable calculus concepts. We provide procedures and a supplies list for launching and videotaping a water rocket flight to provide the experimental data. Because of factors such as fuel expulsion and wind effects, the water rocket does not follow the parabolic model of a textbook projectile, so instead we develop a one-variable height vs. time polynomial model by interpolating observed data points. We then analyze this model using methods suitable to a first semester calculus course. We include a list of questions and partial solutions for our project in which students use calculus techniques to find quantities not apparent from direct observation. We also include a list of websites and other resources to complement and extend this project. (Contains 6 figures, 2 tables, and 7 resources.)
Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A