Students prepare a straw rocket for launch.
Click thumbnail to view larger version.
Designed to be launched indoors, straw rockets are a year-round, all-weather activity.
Straw rockets might be an introductory rocket activity, but you’ll get a lot of educational mileage out of them! By taking part in this fun activity, students grasp a variety of physics concepts including force and motion, mass, thrust, and center of gravity, while making predictions and taking measurements.
Straw Rocket Multi-Student Packs
Straw Rocket Launchers
Straw Rocket Videos
Straw Rocket Teacher's Guide
The Straw Rocket activity is especially great in the classroom because it is inexpensive, can be altered to suit a variety of age groups, and is quick to set up so more time can be allocated to observation, testing, and measuring.
The essential activity has students construct a simple rocket from a soda straw by attaching fins cut from card stock and a nose cone made from modeling clay. Rockets are fired with pneumatic force using a launcher made especially for straw rockets – one that allows the force of the launch to be controlled. After the results of the initial launch are recorded, students can modify the design of their rockets – length, shape, and weight of the nose cone; length of the rocket body; or shape of the fins – or alter the launch angle or launch force. Then they can measure how these changes affect trajectory and altitude.
- Basic physics
- Force and motion
- Newton’s laws of motion
- Center of gravity
- Design and problem solving
- Budget rocket activity
- Uses readily available, inexpensive materials
- Well tested
- Encourages cooperation when students work in teams
- Primary: Science
- Secondary: Math
- Scientific inquiry