Keep reading for your free STEM rocket activity! I hope you will teach your students about Lonnie Johnson. He is a famous engineer and scientist. He created something kids love to use! Students can learn about his work at NASA and how he became an inventor.
What do NASA’s Galileo probe and water guns have in common? Lonnie Johnson, that’s what! Johnson was both a NASA engineer and a toy inventor. If you would like to get this book for your students keep reading!
The book Whoosh: Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions introduces students to the life and accomplishments of this amazing man. Using his imagination and spare parts around his home, Lonnie started creating and inventing as a youth. He led a team to win a state science fair with a robot named Linex. He became a NASA engineer and one of his projects was creating a lightweight backup power system for the Galileo orbiter/probe that explored the planet Jupiter. Continuing to invent in his own workshop, he was working on a new cooling system for air conditioners when he inadvertently came up with the Super Soaker. It is a water gun that uses air pressure to shoot the water. After presenting to many toy companies, one finally agreed to produce it.
Lonnie Johnson and his Inventions
The book mentions rockets, space exploration, robots, as well as the famous Super Soaker. Work with students to find simple machines within toys. They can then brainstorm ideas for using simple machines to make other toys. NASA has ideas for teaching rocketry and solar system exploration. Students will love the free STEM Rocket activity provided below. Keep Reading!
Connecting his NASA years with the stories of the Hidden Figures Scientists is another idea. If you are looking for some new literature connections. While Whoosh: Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions is written with a different age level in mind the students love learning about the famous Human Computers of NASA. I’m so glad these amazing African-American Women Scientists are getting the recognition they have always deserved. My fourth and fifth graders were excited about their story and how John Glenn refused to go into space without their expert calculations. Lonnie Johnson’s work is leading us into the future of space exploration. Mr. Johnson holds over 80 patents!
Students love this STEM Rocket Activity!
Give the students time to draw inventions of their own or build items from recycled parts. For example, your students can design their own STEM rockets by using my lesson about paper rockets. This is a fun challenge that I have done with kids and adults. Students love to decorate their STEM Rockets before testing how well they can fly. You can find the STEM Rocket challenge by clicking here!