This week my 4th and 5th grade STEM students are starting a two week unit on rocketry, spacecraft design and astronomical engineering. If that sounds too grandiose, here’s a simpler lesson plan explanation: We’re building and launching water bottle rockets using empty 2 liter soda bottles and a borrowed PITSCO “Aquaport II Water Rocket Launcher.” Today I tweeted my PLN for help on iPad apps which students can use which are related to these topics, since (sadly) not all of my student groups have brought 2 liter bottles to modify into water bottle rockets. Here are the 4 apps I’ve installed on our iPad cart and am going to let students experiment, play and build with. These are also available as a printable PDF file.

  1. Moon Lander by CleverMedia – free
  2. Autodesk Digital STEAM Applied Mechanics – free
  3. SimpleRockets – $1
  4. Rocket Science 101 – free (from NASA)

I also like the NASA Visualization Explorer app (free) but since it’s not rocketry-specific I left it off this list of four apps.

I added links to these apps on my STEM curriculum website on the “iPad Apps & Tips” page and the “Water Bottle Rockets” page.

Many thanks to Autumn Laidler, Tony Vincent, Jon Samuelson, Mark Hammons, Lisa Johnson, Dean Mantz, and Sue Gorman for helping suggest these apps and build this list! Are there any others you’d definitely include on it?

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