Exploratorium
Bottle Blast-Off!
Making Rockets

Make a paper rocket and see how high it flies.
What Do I Need?

One sheet of 8 1/2" x 11" paper (can be printed on one side)
30 cm length of PVC pipe or any tube with a 1/2" diameter
Scissors
Clear tape
Card stock (or any stiff paper, such as used file folders or 3" x 5" cards)
Markers

What Do I Do?
Step 1

Roll a sheet of 8 1/2" x 11" paper into a cylinder that will fit over the tube. The paper should not be tight around the PVC pipe, but should be able to slide off easily. Tape your paper tube so it stays rolled up, and slip it off the PVC pipe. Put the PVC pipe aside.
    

You can roll your sheet of paper the long way or the short way.



Step 2

With scissors, clip the end of the tube to make it pointed. Use tape to seal the point so it’s airtight. This will be the "nose" of the rocket.


Step 3
Rocket fins will help your rocket fly straight. Fins are usually triangular shapes. Cut fins from a 3" x 5" card or some other stiff paper. Here’s one way to cut them from a 3" x 5" card.

Fold the card in half to make a short rectangle. Unfold it and cut along the fold line.

Stack the two halves of the card. Draw a line from one corner of the folded rectangle to the other. Cut along the line you’ve drawn and you’ll have four fins.


Step 4
Tape the fins to the sides of the rocket at the base. Be sure to tape both sides of the fin to the rocket.


Step 5
Use a marker to write your name on the side of your rocket.

Next
Building a Rocket Launcher

 


For tips on how to use this trick with a class or group, go to the Teacher/Leader
version
 
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