Rocket hero

Rocket Challenge

Level 3, Year 5–6
Term 2

Houston, we have lift off! Students blast off into STEM by designing, building and launching their own water rocket. While the rockets are flying, they’ll learn about Newton’s laws, the engineering design process, and working as a team.

Operating in Term 2 each year, the Rocket Challenge provides scaffolded learning aligned to Level 3 of the New Zealand school curriculum. Teachers are supported with detailed lesson plans, teaching material and resources, a free challenge kit, and where possible a volunteer industry ambassador to help them in areas they may not feel so confident.

The Rocket Challenge is now available with te reo translated student activities.

  • Icon-NewtownsLaws-100pxSQ.png
    Newton's laws of motion
  • Icon-Rocketry-100pxSQ.png
  • Icon-Teamwork-100pxSQ.png
  • Icon-Force-100pxSQ.png
    Physics concepts
  • Icon-InnovativeThinking-100pxSQ.png
    Engneering design process


Here’s what participants said about the 2021 Rocket Challenge:

  • 97% of teachers increased their confidence in teaching STEM
  • 98% of teachers and 83% of students said they would do it again
  • 58% of students were more interested in STEM jobs after the challenge
  • 91% of teachers said students were engaged with the programme
  • 97% of ambassadors would recommend the experience to others

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.

  • 1
    Register your interest online
  • 2
    Complete easy online training
  • 3
    Get matched with a local school or STEM professional
  • 4
    Receive free rocket kit
  • 5
    Inspire students with the Rocket Challenge

Rocket Challenge Teachers

Getting your class involved is easy. Simply sign up online – each teacher that wants their class to participate needs to register. Then we provide you with some basic training and try to match you with a local STEM professional who will be your Wonder Project Ambassador.

Before the end of Term 1, you'll receive access to our online Learning Hub with the 6 Rocket Challenge modules, and your free rocket kit! Your kit will include a rocket launcher and safety gear for your students. You'll need to supply your own soda bottles for rocket bases, recycled materials for fins and parachutes, and a bike pump.

To complete the challenge, you'll need to allow 2 hours per week for 6–8 weeks. Your ambassador will be available for at least 3 hours during the challenge, so use their time wisely!

Learn more about being a Wonder Project teacher

Sign up

Rocket Challenge Ambassadors

If you're a STEM professional, we'd love you to join our network of Wonder Project Ambassadors. You'll get all the training you need to support a teacher in their classroom for the Rocket Challenge. There's no need to be a rocketry expert to get involved! Our online Learning Hub will also support you throughout the challenge with 6 modules that guide you, teachers and students.

It's easy to get involved – simply sign up online. We'll get in touch to discuss what's involved, send you a criminal conviction declaration to complete, and get you started with online training. We'll then match you with a local participating school.

The challenge takes students 1–2 hours per week for 6–8 weeks to complete, but you only need to be available for at least 3 hours during the challenge to visit the classroom.

Learn more about being a Wonder Project Ambassador

Sign up


Overview of the programme

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

Programme overview (PDF, 1.6 MB)

Being a Rocket Challenge ambassador

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

STEM professional overview (PDF, 1.3 MB)

Join the Rocket Challenge!

Registrations for the Rocket Challenge are now open for Term 2 2022!

Sign up now