Rocket Science

Contributor: Rebecca Highland. Lesson ID: 10376

How many people does it take to push a big rocket into the air? Thanks to Isaac Newton, we can get rockets into space and balloons to zip around the room. Find out how!


Physics, Space Science and Astronomy

learning style
personality style
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

  • Have you ever wondered how a huge rocket can rise from the ground all the way up to space?

Learn how it is possible to launch a rocket into space like NASA has done many times!

First, watch Blast-Off! Orion Capsule Launches Aboard Delta IV Rocket from VideoFromSpace:

  • Did you know you were watching a law of motion in action?

According to Newton's Third Law of Motion, for every action, there must be an equal and opposite reaction. You use this principle every day!

To understand this idea more, watch Newton's Third Law of Motion from Wisc-Online:

Now, think about a rocket. Rockets are huge!

  • How can the space program possibly get such a heavy, large object all the way into space?

This action requires force, and a lot of it!

Scientists have found a way to produce enough action force to create a reaction that sends a rocket hundreds of miles away from Earth and up into space!

Fuel is burned to produce gas, and the gas is pushed out the back of the rocket, causing it to rise up with enough force to get into orbit — or even to the moon! This force is called thrust.

Thrust helps an object work against gravity. On Earth, gravity is a natural force that is always trying to get objects on the ground. A rocket's thrust is powerful enough to push a huge object, like a rocket, against gravity and up into space.

Watch Newton's Laws Of Motion (3): Action and Reaction to better understand:

To explore the concepts of force and motion further, check out these Force and Motion Videos from PBS Learning Media.

Head over to the Got It? section to look more closely at gravity.

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