Document Type


Date of Degree Completion

Winter 2017

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Engineering Technology

Committee Chair

Craig H. Johnson

Second Committee Member

Charles Pringle

Third Committee Member

Darren Olson


Water rocket activities are one of the most popular STEM activities used in primary, secondary, and higher education yet are void of engineering, though engineering is heavily implied in the STEM acronym. This study investigated the amount of engineering present in water rocket activities, and options for emphasizing engineering more in water rocket activities using an open-platform flight simulator for use by educators to enable students to predict flight parameters of a water rocket they designed, and test those predictions against experimental data. The simulator was constructed in Excel® with many functions, but the function validated in this study was the prediction of maximum height. The simulator was able to predict maximum height of a water rocket at specific input parameters within 5.773% with 95% confidence using a calibration factor to account for unknown sources of error. Further validation of the simulator at other input parameters is needed to ensure the calibration factor enables the accurate prediction of maximum height with varied input parameters, as is common occurrence in STEM water rocket activities.