Friday, January 11, 2013

Exploration and Observation: Balloon Rocket Launch

In Cosmic, Liam gets to go on "The Biggest Thrill Ride in the History of the World"--a trip to the moon! Let's make some indoor rockets and see if we can launch them all the way to the ceiling.

Materials needed: fishing line or string, drinking straws, balloons, shuttle picture, masking tape

1. Prepare the launch site. String fishing line from the ceiling--more than one line, if you want to launch more than one rocket at the same time.

2. Prepare your rocket. Color and decorate your shuttle, then cut it out and attach a straw to the back with masking tape. Blow up a balloon, but don't tie off the end! The air in the balloon is the force that will launch your rocket.

3. Prepare for liftoff. Attach your balloon to the straw with masking tape (keep pinching the end!), then slide the straw over the bottom end of the fishing line. Hold the bottom of the fishing line against the floor so it forms a straight vertical line. (If you allow slack in the line, the rocket won't launch as high.)

4. Launch! When your line is tight, count down and launch your rocket! Then perform experiments to answer the following questions, and see if you can come up with some questions of your own:

Does the rocket launch higher if I put more air in the balloon?
How would I design a rocket that would launch even higher? What changes could I make to this design--what could I add, and what could I take away?
What happens if I launch the rocket without sliding the straw over the fishing line?
Can I attach other things (paper clips, paper people, etc.) and still launch it all the way up the line?
How many times can you use the same balloon before it loses some of its launching power? Why do you think this happens?

Happy launching!

1 comment:

  1. I just saw this! This is awesome. William is convinced he wants to be an astronaut when he grows up (Mom would secretly rather have him stay on this planet), and he would love this!!!

    Thanks, Elaine!