Using Virtual Reality in K-12 Education: A Simulation of Shooting Bottle Rockets for Distance

Charles Nippert


Two liter bottle rockets made from recycled soda bottles are often used in high school science classes and in introductory college courses.  Typically, it is often more challenging to shoot bottle rockets for distance instead of shooting them straight up and measuring altitude, as is often done.  Using a device made from pipe and wood to launch bottle rockets and control the launch angle creates a m+uch0 more interesting problem for students who are attempting to optimize launch conditions.  Plans are presented for a launcher that allow students to adjust the launch angle. To help embellish the exercise, we supplement the bottle rocket with a model using virtual reality and a photorealistic simulation of the launch that allows the students to appreciate the optimization problems associated with water and air pressure and launch angle. Our usage data indicates that students easily adapt to the virtual reality simulation and use our simulation for intuitive experiments on their own to optimize launch conditions.



Index Termsâ??Physics education, student experiments, courseware, computer aided instruction

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International Journal of Engineering Pedagogy (iJEP) – eISSN: 2192-4880
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