- Plastic bottle
- Cut the paper in half (width/hamburger style). Roll and tape one half of the paper into a cylinder that will fit onto the spout of the bottle.
- Cut the other half of the paper in half again.
- With one piece, create a cone shape that will trap air. Tape the cone to an open end of the cylinder.
- Use the last piece of paper to create right triangles to use as fins. Fins can help with the rocket direction.
- Place your rocket on the mouth of the bottle, and give your bottle a quick squeeze with your hands or stomp with your foot to launch!
How to Expand It
- Create a target and work to design a rocket that can hit it!
- Hold a family competition to see whose rocket can fly the furthest, or the highest.
- Try the activity both indoors and outdoors, and observe differences.
What do kids learn?
- Basic engineering skills. Engineers solve problems with constraints, in this case, limited materials and air pressure. They learn to solve problems by using the engineering design process: asking questions, coming up with solutions, building, testing and improving.
- Kids will also explore the power of air as a force as they push air from the bottle to the rocket. When the air is forced out of the bottle, it has less space inside the rocket. The force created pushes the rocket upward.
- Science Vocabulary
- Constraint: a limitation or restriction. Materials, time, and space are common constraints. Real engineers have to work around constraints all the time!
- Air pressure: the weight of air molecules. Air moves from areas of high pressure to areas of low pressure. The same phenomenon that causes your rocket to launch is what causes weather, like wind, tornadoes and hurricanes.