On April 6 and 7, 8th graders from Ms. Ratzel's science class at Leawood Middle School in Blue Valley School District became true innovators. They applied their knowledge of Newton's Third Law of Motion to design matchstick rockets using The Lean Lab Innovation Framework and design process.
Over the course of two days, students worked in teams to design two prototype rocket designs and test them with live launches. We at The Lean Lab think NASA may want to refocus their recruiting efforts after seeing some of their results.
Students began the class with a crash course in the design process, walking through the importance of empathy and listening to find the root of the problem with a traditional matchstick design. Turns out, matchstick rockets have a 95% launch failure rate. Students then distilled this problem down to specific variables that could account for the failure: angle of launch, mass of the rocket vs. energy of the ignition, the material of the launchpad, etc. Then, students delved into ideating, brainstorming, and prototyping their first design. Each team built one prototype matchstick rocket to test, analyze results from, and repeat the design process through again to build a 2.0 design and test.
Each iteration produced a new set of learning and every group's design improved from 1.0 to 2.0. The longest recorded flight was 38 inches followed by a close second at 31 inches.
The classroom workshop is a new offering from The Lean Lab that takes its Innovation Framework, based off of Design Thinking and Lean Startup methodologies, and applies it to a specific lesson and design challenge in a classroom. Students learn the basics of the design process while deeply engaging with content curriculum and developing critical thinking skills.
If you are interested in hosting a classroom innovation design workshop at your school, please contact Katie Boody at email@example.com.