Have you ever dreamed of exploring outer space? Check out this STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) activity and get ready to use your imagination, design your own paper rocket and launch it toward the moon!
- Using paper and scissors, cut out the shape of a rocket. You might try using different weights of paper such as construction paper, basic printer paper or cardstock.
- Cut out additional paper features and glue them to your rocket. You could add a control panel, windows, tail fins and more!
- Cut a piece of straw that is small enough to fit on the back of your rocket without being seen.
- Wrap one end of the straw piece with tape so that air will not leak from it if blown through the open end.
- Secure the straw piece to the back of your paper rocket.
- Insert another straw into the open end of your rocket’s straw. If needed, you can insert the end of a pair of scissors or a pencil to help widen the end of your rocket’s straw.
- Print a photo of the moon or make your own moon image using paper. Be sure to include a few moon craters to serve as targets for your rocket launch!
- Hang your moon from the celling (or another place of your choosing).
- Aim your rocket at the moon and blow through the straw. Watch it soar, fueled by the power of your breath.
- Experiment with launching your rocket at different distances. How far away can you stand and still reach your moon target?
- Try modifying your rocket design by changing up the shape of the body or tail fins. See if your changes affect your rocket’s flight path.
What Are We Discovering?
The rockets you made were propelled by air instead of rocket fuel. Inside the types of rockets that blast off and travel high up in our atmosphere or all the way to space, liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen are separately pumped into a combustion chamber. When they combine inside the chamber, they ignite and burn, releasing a massive amount of heat, energy and fast-moving steam that propels the rocket forward.
National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF) Inductee Yvonne Brill invented a way to make rocket fuel more efficient so that her thruster design system needed less fuel. One of the only women of her generation in aerospace engineering, Brill was an extraordinary inventor whose innovations inspire us to aim high!
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