Research Paper

Over the next six weeks, you must complete a research paper on one of the following questions within your capstone group. Everyone must complete a 500 – 1000 word research paper, double spaced. Use the graphic organizer from Mike’s class. The thesis of the research paper will be the main idea of your paper and you should use three to five sources which correspond to each claim box on the organizer.


  • What is entropy? Why is it significant to our understanding of the universe, time, the processes around us and the fate of the universe?
  • How do stars create light? How can we read that light for information about what’s happening in the star or nebula?
  • What is the relationship between focal length, aperture, and an object’s apparent magnitude in the night sky in order to gather data about the object?
  • What is gravity? Why has it been called the cosmic sculpture?


  • What is the ISP of a rocket fuel and why is it significant? Compare the impulse of sugar fuels, sugar grain and black powder.
  • Compare the materials used in the Phoenix 1 rocket. What are the advantages of aluminum, stainless steel, a silicon O-ring and a plastic nose-cone? Why use these materials?
  • Why is the nozzle so significant to rocket performance?

Weather Balloon Science

  • What is the atmosphere and why is it significant?
  • What is the magnetosphere and why is it significant?


  • What is DNA and why is it significant?
  • What is it about the nature of water that allows for the formation of complex molecular structures and life itself?
  • What is the ecosystem of the San Diego regions and what are the challenges we face?


  • What is light and how is it captured in film?

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