Rocket Challenge

Level 3, Year 5–6
Term 2

Houston, we have lift off! Step into the role of Mission Command and support ākonga as they design, build and launch their own water rockets. While the rockets are flying, ākonga will learn about Newton’s laws, the engineering design process, and working as a rōpū.

Kaiako are supported with a high-value rocket kit, ākonga learning material, and detailed lesson plans completely free of charge. Where possible, classes are matched with a volunteer STEM professional to build confidence, raise aspirations and blast ākonga career aspirations to the stars.

The Rocket Challenge is also available with ākonga activities in te reo Māori.

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    Newton's laws of motion
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    Physics concepts
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    Engneering design process


Here’s what participants said about the 2023 Rocket Challenge:

  • 94% of kaiako increased their confidence in teaching STEM
  • 98% of kaiako and 81% of ākonga said they would do it again
  • 53% of ākonga were more interested in STEM jobs after the challenge
  • 92% of kaiako said ākonga were engaged with the programme
  • 96% of ambassadors would recommend the experience to others

"The Rocket Challenge is easy to introduce and follow and students love it! Nothing like a flying rocket to encourage creativity, excitement, problem solving and future imaginings."

Maree Flashman

St Mary's School

How it works

Any teacher or industry STEM professional in Aotearoa can register their interest to take part. They must be available to participate in Term 2. They then complete some easy-peasy online training and we contact ambassadors to assess their suitability. Once mission is a go, we work to match every school and volunteer Wonder Project Ambassador so they can provide the best learning experience for students. We then send out access to our online Learning Hub packed with all the student learning content and teaching guides, and send out our epic free rocket kits.

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    Register your interest online
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    Watch videos to prepare
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    Get matched with a local school or STEM professional
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    Receive free rocket kit
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    Inspire ākonga with the Rocket Challenge

Rocket Challenge Ambassadors

If you're a STEM professional, we'd love you to join our community of Wonder Project Ambassadors on the Rocket Challenge. Once you’ve registered online, we'll get in touch to discuss what's involved and get you started with the training you need to feel confident supporting a kaiako. We'll then match you with a local participating school to launch your STEM space journey.

And there's no need to be a rocketry expert to get involved! Everything you need to know about the challenge is in our online Learning Hub, with lesson guides, support notes, ākonga learning material and helpful videos.

The challenge takes classes 1–2 hours per week across 6–8 weeks to complete, but you only need to be available for at least 3 hours during the challenge to visit the classroom – either in person or online.

Learn more about being a Wonder Project Ambassador


Rocket Challenge Teachers

Getting your class involved in the Rocket Challenge is easy! Simply register online (each participating kaiako needs to register separately). Once we’ve confirmed your spot based on challenge capacity, we’ll get to work to try and match you with a local STEM professional.

Before the end of Term 1, you'll receive access to our online Learning Hub with lesson guides, support notes, ākonga learning material and helpful videos, to ensure you feel confident before the challenge. You’ll also receive your free rocket kit! Kits are carefully curated with STEM equipment worth over $300, like rocket launchers and safety gear, to ensure you and your ākonga have a blast! You’ll need to supply soda bottles and recycled materials to create your rockets, and a bike pump to launch them.

The challenge takes around 2 hours per week for 6–8 weeks to complete. Your ambassador will be available for at least 3 hours during the challenge to support the class, so use their time wisely!

Learn more about being a Wonder Project kaiako

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Reusing the rocket kit

To ensure as many ākonga as possible can experience STEM wonder, we’d love for all kits to be reused. Click the button below for a quick guide on how to make your rocket kit good as new.

Reuse your kit


Challenge impact report

Read about the impact of the Rocket Challenge.

Report (PDF, 7.4 MB)

Overview of the programme

Learn about the modules and what ākonga will learn during the Rocket Challenge.

Programme overview (PDF, 921.5 KB)

Being a Rocket Challenge ambassador

Learn more about being a Rocket Challenge ambassador or share with your employer.

STEM professional overview (PDF, 595.6 KB)

Join the Rocket Challenge!

Registrations for this year’s challenge are now closed. Register your interest for the 2025 challenge.