Paper Straw Rocket

Supplies

  • Paper Rocket
  • Markers
  • Scissors
  • Tape or Glue
  • 2 Straws (one needs to be a larger diameter than the other)

Instructions:

  1. This is your chance to design and color your rocket anyway you want — try different shapes and see how they effect your flight.  We have included some templates to get you started.  Cardstock is great to give your rocket more durabiity and a better flight.  I used two index cards and glued them together.  Color your rocket in your favorite colors! Kids of all ages will have a great time with this step, and it adds the art element to STEAM.

rocket made out of index cards in two pieces

  1. Use scissors to cut out the colored rocket. Younger kids will require help from an adult with this step.
  1. You’ll need two different sized straws for this project, one with a larger diameter than the other. We used an 8mm paper straw (skinny straw) and a clear, plastic 9.5mm straw (regular straw). Set the smaller straw aside. Cut a 2″ long piece of the larger straw. Place a piece of tape over the top and around the top edge to seal one side of the straw to create a cap.
  1. Add a thin line of glue on the back of the rocket. Place the straw over the glue, with the capped end toward the top of the rocket. Let the glue dry completely.  Or use tape and tape the straw to the back of your rocket.  The goal is securely fasten your straw to your rocket without interferring with the second straw that has to go inside the first straw.

backside of paper rocket

  1. Place the smaller straw into the back of the rocket and make sure everything is secure.

The rocket is ready for takeoff! Build more rockets with your friends, family, or classmates and make it a competition.

To launch the rocket, tip your head back, and put the straw in your mouth. Blow a big puff of air into the straw and watch your rocket fly through the air! 

Why does this happen?

When you blow air into the straw, it travels to the end of the sealed straw segment. The air pushes its way out, taking the rocket and straw segment with it. The harder you blow into the straw, the more energy the air has – which means the further your rocket will fly!

There are two forces acting on the straw rocket. The force from blowing air through the straw is pushing the rocket forward, while gravity is pulling it down. These two forces combined make the rocket fly in a curved movement (up, then back down).

You can learn so much by trying different techniques with the rocket! Try pointing the straw at different angles and blowing harder/softer to see how the flight trajectory changes. What makes the rocket fly the farthest? The highest? Add weight to the rocket using paper clips. Does this affect the rocket’s trajectory? What else could you change on your rocket to affect the flight?

(Instructions modified from Artsyfartsymama.com)