Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Water Bottle Rockets

I was so proud of my Science Kids...they did this one all on their own, even the photography!
{Please read the safety note at the end}

Ages: This is best for the Big Kids.  Once the rocket is assembled, Little Kids can come and watch the launch.

Materials:  Small water or soda bottle, wine cork, inner tube for a bike tire with the stem, glue, drill, bicycle pump
Procedure:

  • Notice the book in the materials shot?  It's the Dangerous Book for Boys: Things to Do and it's where the Science Boys got the idea and directions for this bottle rocket
  • Assembling the cork and bike stem requires some adult help...the Science Boys asked their dad! 1) Cut the stem from the bike tire inner tube, leaving about a quarter size amount of rubber around the stem  2) Drill a hole through the length of the cork, just the size of the stem  3) Slide the stem through the cork and use hot glue or other adhesive to attach the rubber to the bottom of the cork


  • Head outside with the bottle, water, bicycle pump and cork
  • This is how your bottle rocket should set up prior to launch:  Fill the bottle about 1/3 full of water and push the cork into the top, attach the bicycle pump to the stem and create a launch pad using a rock 
  • Team work is important here as the bottle can be difficult to balance!
  • The rocket is launched by pumping on the tire pump!

  • Several variables can be explored with this rocket...How does the amount of water change the distance of the rocket?  How does the angle of the launch pad change the height or direction of the rocket?  How does the size of bottle change the launch of the rocket?
Safety Notes:
* The Science Boys were supervised while they were working and they asked lots of questions along the way.  They made all the decisions, and you can tell they handled the photography! but they had help with the tools and hot glue
* The rocket does not travel very far or move very fast however this is a great teachable moment about where you should stand for a launch and how to manage the apparatus carefully
* While this sounds like a hassle to set up, once the cork component is ready to go the rocket is quite easy to launch.  Since this requires only water and a bicycle pump, it really kept the boys busy all afternoon!

The Science Mommy would love to hear about your bottle rockets!

1 Science Moms have commented...:

Madison said...

That looks like fun! I'll have to remember this for when my nephew gets older. :)