Activity Industry Sector
Engineering & Architecture

Activity Originally Created By: Nancy Brown

Soda Bottle Rockets

Part of Lesson Plan: It Really is Rocket Science Part 3

Activity Overview / Details

A 2-liter soda bottle can become a rocket. Just fill it half full with water and put a cork in the bottle as a stopper. Turn it upside down and brace it using cardboard. Tripod style legs work well to keep it balanced. Insert the needle from a bicycle or foot pump into the cork. Pump it slowly 5 or 6 times. When the bottle becomes pressurized, the cork will pop out, and the rocket will launch.

Have students design fins and a nosecone for their rocket. Create the fins with cardboard or manila file folders (folded for double layer strength). Nose cones can be made from construction paper or the capped end of another 2-liter bottle. Have students follow the design process: plan, sketch, build and then test.

You can make a better launch system using PVC pipe. See the attached document.

Or you can buy a professionally made water rocket launcher. See the link below for a super duper version of these rockets.

Materials / Resource

  • Build a Rocket Launcher with PVC Build a Rocket Launcher with PVC [ Download ] How-to PDF