June 16, 2024
1 Solar System Way, Planet Earth, USA
Science And Technology

Easy Air Rocket Launcher STEM Challenge

Rockets are cool. STEM Challenge in any form, since the end result is usually impressive and success is easy to measure. This single air rocket launcher It is inexpensive and very easy to create. It's a great STEM challenge or science activity for home or school.

Once you've made an aerial rocket launcher, check out my other rocket ideas for kids.

Easy Aerial Rocket Launcher

You will need to

One empty plastic bottle and two small ones.

About 15 cm of PVC pipe; This should be approximately the same width as the opening of the bottle.

strong tape

Scotch tape



Use heavy duty tape to secure the PVC pipe to the top of the plastic bottle. Make sure air can only escape from the top of the tube.

Make a paper rocket by wrapping the paper around the tube and sealing one end with tape.

Easy DIY rocket launcher

To launch the rocket, place it on top of the tube and squeeze the bottle firmly. The rocket should fly into the air.

air rocket launcher instructions

Rocket Launcher Research Ideas

Set up an investigation using a simple rocket and a heavier, decorated rocket. Find out which one flies the highest.

Use thicker, heavier paper to make a rocket.

Try a smaller or larger bottle as a pitcher.

Boy with a basic rocket launcher.

Things to think about

Only one variable must change for an investigation to be a fair test. If you change the type of rocket used, the amount of force used to launch it should stay the same. This is very complicated with a basic launcher, but one way to minimize the difference is to make sure the bottle is fully inflated before launching and use the same person to squeeze the bottle each time.

In-ground air rocket launcher made from a 2 liter plastic bottle and a small segment of PVC pipe.

Aerial rocket launcher made with tubes.

A slightly more robust rocket launcher can be made like the one shown below. We use PVC pipe for construction with a foot pump on the end. The key is to make sure no air can escape from the sides.

Outdoor rocket launcher made of PVC pipes.

Rockets fly best when as little air as possible escapes from the sides. To get a perfect fit, I wrapped paper around the launch tube and taped the top and sides. We added some small decorations but kept it as light as possible.

Air rocket launcher with adhesive tape on the sides so that air cannot escape.
outdoor rocket launcher construction

Last updated on May 27, 2024 by Emma Vanstone

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