In this activity, students make a water bottle rocket. They investigate the variables that affect the height and distance travelled by the rocket.

By the end of this activity, students should be able to:

  • build a rocket out of a plastic bottle, using water and air pressure to generate the thrust
  • design a nose cone and fins that help the rocket travel as far as possible by increasing stability and minimising drag
  • investigate some of the variables that may affect the distance travelled or height reached by the rocket.

This activity is ideally done after the teaching and learning activities Introduction to rockets and space and Effervescent canister rockets

Download the Word file (see link below) for:

  • introduction/background notes
  • what you need
  • what to do
  • extension ideas
  • student worksheet.

Useful links

This computer simulation will help students understand the physics of water bottle rockets and investigate parameters that will lead to the highest launch.

    Published 30 November 2011