Sunday, September 18, 2011

It's Not Rocket Science, or Is It? Simple Straw Bottle Rockets

If you've been following the training page, or my Facebook, you know I've been on the road a lot! Last week, I had the opportunity to present here in Marquette. We had a fabulous time playing with science.

One of the things I like to do with all of my training sessions is to provide participants with something to take home that they can use IMMEDIATELY with the children they work with.  Throughout the summer,  we have been making air powered bottle rockets!
These rockets are quite simple to make, and with the bottle version are great for improving fine motor skills. Each time a child squeezes the bottle, they are working on strengthening those muscles! Another adaptation of this rocket is just to use the straws. This form often produces a lot of "spit", BUT is fantastic for children who need some extra help developing muscles around their mouth that help with speech :).  (Leeanne has a great tutorial for the plain straw ones over at Kreative Resources)

What you need:
 Empty Plastic Bottle With Lid
 2 Straws of varying diameter
 Paper/Cardboard/Plastic (optional for decorating)

 Glue Gun
 Drill and Drill Bit (size of the narrow straw)

Step 1: Drill a hole in the center of the bottle cap
Step 2: Put the narrow straw through the hole. (You will want to place the straw mostly in the bottle. If you have a bendy straw, cut the bendy part off before you put the straw in place OR place that part down in the bottle)

Step 3: Secure the straw to the bottle top with a rim of hot glue around the edge. This serves two purposes. First, it secures the straw, secondly it keeps the air from escaping through the gap.
Step 4: Take the broader straw and fold the end over a couple of times and secure with tape. This prevents the air from escaping out the end of the straw which allows the air pressure to send the rocket flying.
Step 5: Decorate the broader straw as a rocket if you choose. You could try different shapes to test what shapes are most aerodynamic!
Step 6: Place the broad straw over the narrow straw

Ta Da! Your Rocket is Complete!

Now, all you have to do is squeeze the bottle to blast your rocket off!

(I learned how to make these rockets back in March when I attended the MiAEYC Conference in Grand Rapids. One of the workshops had oodles and oodles of great ideas for math and  science, including this great one to make rockets out of bottles and straws. (I've referred to this workshop once before when I mentioned "Our Tree" - For those of you interested in the workshop, it was entitled: "Trees, Penguins, Seed, Recycling, Space and More: Innovative Ideas for Teaching Math and Science" it was presented by Sharon Grala, Darlene Pranion, Jenny Kluza, and Lisa Barker from the L'Anse Creuse Public Schools in Harrison Township, Michigan).

Dane and Allan put together a couple of other rockets this week.... In fact, this air powered rocket has flown 143 feet!
I found this idea over at Family Fun Magazine. Allan and Dane adapted the pattern a bit, and our rocket explorations and tutorials will be coming soon!


RainbowsWithinReach said...

Whooohoooooo!!! I LUV it!

I will 'pin' just as soon as I have a better internet connection. (Yes, I've gotten beyond addicted there..... have a whole 'board' of rocket/space goodies to go with one of my early songs. I'm so happy to share this with others via that amazing format.)

Debbie from RainbowsWithinReach

RainbowsWithinReach said...

P.S. I have your blog set to syndicate automatically to my FB fanpage. Aren't you brilliant to teach me that??

Ticia said...

I love this idea. How much this must have been. I'm also glad you wrote a post, because I was trying to recommend your blog to someone and I was totally blanking on the name of your blog.

Play for Life said...

Now that is one cool rocket Amy. I will definitely have to try THAT one!
Donna :) :)

Amy A @ Child Central Station said...


@Debbie- I'm starting to get hooked on Pinterest too, I just don't have all that much time for it! I have found all kinds of great things by following you there too!

@Ticia- Thanks for passing my blog along! I've been quite busy of late and haven't been in the online world much because of it!

@Donna (and Sherry) These rockets are a lot of fun! I've been passing the idea along all summer and just never got around to posting about them! Hopefully it won't take me nearly as long to share the pvc launcher! said...

Oooo a pvc launcher? Do share! The straw bottle rockets sound awesome enough.. can't imagine what a pvc launcher would be like. Love your work Amy.

Bridgette said...

Oh, my son is going to love this! Thank you for sharing! :D

Anonymous said...

I'm totally going to do this for summer school science! Thanks!

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