This is one of the 48 projects for our Instructables: Made In Your Mind (IMIYM) exhibition at the Children’s Museum of Houston showing from May 26, 2012 - November 4, 2012. Produced in partnership with Instructables, IMIYM is an exhibit where families work together to build different fun, toy-like projects that help construct knowledge and skills related to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics while instilling a “do-it-yourself” attitude in kids so they feel empowered to explore, tinker, and try to make things themselves. To learn more, check out the article here.
This project was originally conceived of and created by Children's Museum of Houston staff. In a search, we weren't able to find a similar project, but there may be some in which case please share them through comments. Often, the materials and process for building our projects are designed for use with a large number of visitors (we see over 800,000 annually) and the need to ensure safety in a mostly non-facilitated environment. So, yes, many of these projects have room for improvement in both materials and methodology, which is PRECISELY what we want to encourage the kids to do. So please do share your ideas for improvement and modifications!
Step 1: What You Need:
1 – 3½” paper square (memo pad paper and Post-It Notes work great)
1 - Straw (bendy straws work well, too, and allow you to create an angle control to explore trajectory)
Step 2: The Video
Step 3: Step 1 - Fuselage
Step 4: Step 2 - Nosecone
Step 5: Step 3 - Fins
Step 6: The Launch
The Paper Mini-Rocket launches due to air pressure and Newton's Third Law of Motion. When you blow into the straw, pressure builds up behind the rocket. Once the rocket slips free of the straw, the force of the pressure pushes it forward. The tape you added on as fins help to stabilize its flight. Without them, the rocket would tumble through the air.