Bottle Rocket Experiment: How-To Plus Free Worksheet

Happy launching!

Bottle rockets are a fun and educational activity that can engage students in hands-on learning. By building and launching their own bottle rockets, students learn about the principles of physics, engineering, and aerodynamics. In this article, we will guide you through the process of making a simple bottle rocket with easily accessible materials. Let’s get started! 

How It Works 

A bottle rocket works based on the principles of Newton’s third law of motion. When water is forced out of the bottle, it creates a reaction force that propels the rocket upward. The air pressure inside the bottle builds up as the water is pumped in, and when the stopper is released, the pressure is released, causing the rocket to launch into the air. 

What a Bottle Rocket Teaches Students

Building and launching a bottle rocket can teach students several important concepts, including:

  • Newton’s third law of motion: Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.
  • Aerodynamics: The study of how objects move through the air. 
  • Engineering and design: Students can experiment with different designs and modifications to improve the performance of their rockets. 
  • Problem-solving: Students will encounter challenges during the building process and will need to find creative solutions.

Plus, fill out the form on this page to grab your free recording sheet.

Video: How to Make a Bottle Rocket

This video shows how to use easy-to-find materials to make your own bottle rocket.

Materials Needed 

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To make a simple bottle rocket, you will need the following materials: 

  • Safety equipment (gloves and goggles) 
  • A large empty 1-liter or 2-liter plastic bottle 
  • Thin and thick cardboard 
  • Scissors 
  • Duct tape 
  • Water 
  • A rubber stopper or cork 
  • A bike pump with a hose and pump needle 
  • A drill and drill bit (something to make a hole) 
  • 2 bricks or blocks (to use for a base) 

Step-by-Step Instructions

Follow these step-by-step directions to build and launch your own bottle rocket:

  1. Put on gloves and safety goggles to protect yourself during the process.
  2. Make a hole in the stopper or cork that is slightly smaller than the pump needle. 
  3. Cut a small rectangular piece of thick cardboard and roll it into a cone shape. Secure it with duct tape to create the rocket’s nose cone. 
  4. Cut three fins out of thin cardboard. Make sure they are symmetrical, and attach them to the bottom of the bottle using duct tape. These fins will stabilize the rocket during flight. 
  5. Fill the bottle about one-third full with water. 
  6. Insert the rubber stopper or cork into the bottle’s opening, making sure it fits tightly. 
  7. Place the bottle on a flat surface and position the bricks or blocks on either side to hold it in place. 
  8. Attach the pump needle to the bike pump hose and insert it into the hole in the rubber stopper or cork. 
  9. Pump air into the bottle until the pressure builds up. 
  10. Stand back and release the stopper or cork. 
  11. Watch as your bottle rocket launches into the sky! 

Why Making a Simple Bottle Rocket Is Fun as well as a Learning Experience 

Making a simple bottle rocket is not only a fun activity but also a valuable learning experience for students. It allows them to apply scientific principles in a hands-on way and encourages creativity and problem-solving skills. Additionally, launching a bottle rocket can spark curiosity and excitement about science and engineering, inspiring students to explore these subjects further. 

So gather your materials, follow the step-by-step directions, and get ready for an exciting adventure with bottle rockets. Happy launching!

And don’t forget to download your free Bottle Rocket Experiment instructions and worksheet for students by filling out the form on this page.

Looking for more experiment ideas? Check out our big list of experiment ideas here.

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Gather your materials, follow the step-by-step directions, and learn how to make a bottle rocket. Happy launching!