- Simple Machines
Materials (per rocket)
- small lump of clay
- 1 wide straw
- 1 thin straw that fits inside the wide straw
- target (box lid or paper with a bull's-eye drawn on)
We Challenge You To...
...design and build an air-powered rocket that can hit a distant target.
Brainstorm and Design
Think about things that might affect how your air-powered rocket flies.
- How long will your rocket be?
- How many paper fins will your straw rocket have0, 2, or more?
- How will adding weight to the straw's nose or having fins affect how it flies?
- When you launch your straw rocket, how does the launch angle affect where it lands?
- First, build a balloon-powered launcher. Slide 12 inches (35 cm) of the thin straw into a balloon. Make a tight seal by taping the balloon to the straw.
- Next, build a straw rocket. Use the wide straw for the rocket. Seal one end. Either plug it with clay or fold the tip over and tape it down.
- Now launch your rocket. Blow into the thin straw to blow up the balloon. Slide the wide straw onto the thin straw. Aim. Launch!
Test, Evaluate, and Redesign
Set up a target. Stand 5 feet (1.5 m) away and try to hit it with your rocket. Can you make your rocket hit the target every time? Try these things if your rocket:
- falls quickly to the groundReduce the weight.
- misses the targetLaunch it at a different angle.
- won't fly straightSee if fins make a difference. Also, try adding weight to the rocket's nose.
- sticks to the launch strawMake sure the launch straw is dry. If it isn't, wipe it dry. Also, try blowing up the balloon more.