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Make a Balloon Rocket

by Charlotte Jain (follow)
Science (7)      Balloon (1)      Rocket (1)     
Balloon rockets are an easy way to bring the fun of science into your home! With just a few simple steps, set this up to watch the balloon sail from one end of the string to the other using only the power of the air inside it.

1 length of string or ribbon
1 balloon (plus more to repeat the balloon rocket test more times if required!)
A plastic straw
Sticky tape
A door handle, fence, post, or something to tie the end of the string to.

To add to the wonder of the experiment, sticky tape a LEGO man or figurine to the balloon and watch it sail away!

Set up

Locate a fixed point to attach one end of the string to. This can be anything, really - a door handle, a fence post or part of the fence, a tree.

Tie one end of the string or ribbon firmly to the handle or fixed point.

Thread the plastic straw onto the string. When doing this test, I couldn't find a straw, so make a small one by rolling up some card and sticky taping it together into a cylinder shape.

Tie the other end of the string to another point so that the string is pulled tight. Alternately, you can hold onto the unattached end of the string and pull it tight when releasing the balloon rocket, but don't let go or the balloon and string will fall off!

Here, I've tied the second end to another door handle across the room.

Blow up the balloon but leave the end untied. Hold the balloon end closed with your fingers so the air doesn't escape (yet!)

Use sticky tape to attach the balloon firmly to the straw.

If you are adding a LEGO man or the like, sticky tape it onto the balloon here.

How it works

Slide the balloon to one end of the string, with the blown up end facing the direction the balloon will fly in.

Release the open end of the balloon and watch the balloon fly across the string.

The air will rush out of the balloon and propel it forwards using thrust - the pushing force made by energy. Here, the thrust is produced by the energy of the balloon pushing the air inside it out. As the air blasts out on one side, the rocket is pushed forward in the opposite direction along the string!

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