There’s an old saying: what goes up must come down. This activity is a perfect chance to challenge that idea, shooting a rocket high into the air by rapidly squashing a plastic bottle launcher. We’ll never get this rocket into space, but some real rockets do go fast enough to prove the saying wrong.
What’s the science?
The bottle we used as the rocket launcher is not really empty: there is air inside it. Air is elastic (squashy), and when we compressed it, it pushed back and the pressure inside increased. In the activity, the sudden increase in air pressure inside the bottle pushed hard on the bottom of the rocket, sending it flying high into the air.
We challenge you to make your very own rocket mouse and launcher – see how high your bat can fly!
- An empty plastic milk bottle (4- or 6-pint bottles work best)
- Things to decorate your rocket
- A rocket bat template
We followed these steps:
- Cut out a template along the dotted lines.
- Rolled it into a cone shape and secured it with tape – this was our rocket.
- Decorated our rocket adding some bat wings
- Popped it on top of our bottle.
- Hit the sides and launched our rocket into the air!
Science in our world
Just as increasing the air pressure in the bottle sends the rocket flying, we use air pressure when we squeeze shampoo or ketchup from a plastic bottle.