Grade 8: 3…2…1…Blast Off! (MS-PS2, MS-ETS1)

  • Grade: 8
  • Content Area: Physics and Engineering Design
  • NGSS Standard: MS-ETS1-1, MS-ETS1-4, MS-PS2-1, MS-PS2-2




This unit was taught in an eighth-grade physical science class.  The units leading up to this were the following: Scientific Methods, Mathematical Concepts in Science (manipulation of equations, graphing, and basic mathematical computations), Motion (speed, velocity, and acceleration.  The unit learning objectives and summative assessment were developed in collaboration with other junior high science teachers as well as a high school physics teacher. The goals of our unit are as follows: 1) To teach students about the concepts of forces and Newton’s Laws in a meaningful, relatable, hands-on way, 2) to design a unit that is easily implementable with little financial cost to the teacher, and 3) to create a project-based unit that will allow students to continue to develop critical thinking skills while also making them aware of how these concepts interplay in their everyday lives. The TOPS curriculum was used frequently in this unit. TOPS is reasonably priced at $19.95, uses easily attained everyday materials, and is also easily modified to fit NGSS. We also used the Aquaport II bottle rocket launching system, which is priced at $250.00 through Pitsco Scientific. There are plenty of DIY rocket launching stands that can be found on the internet that can be built at a fraction of the cost.