Problem Solvers

Rocket launchers

Rocket launchers

Get crafty and build a rocket launcher from everyday materials.

Activity overview

30 mins+
Ages 7 – 9

Science topics:


You will need:

A mix of building materials (straws, foil, tape, glue, elastic bands, packaging).

Sometimes you have to solve a problem on the spot. Explain that today the class will need to make a rocket launcher using just the materials provided. 

Run the activity

1. Explain that working as a team, they will have 20 minutes to look at the materials and create a rocket launcher that will propel a rocket into the air. Encourage them to think about the forces they need to launch a rocket and the best materials to use to ensure flight.

2. After 20 minutes, get them to swap creations with another group. Continue working, but this time on the unfamiliar creation. How can they improve it?

3. After 10 more minutes, survey the final creations. What have they learned from swapping projects? 

Background science

You can propel a rocket using a number of methods such as air, water or elastic materials like a balloon. Check out this additional information from STEM Learning on aerodynamics and motion and take a look at this water rocket video from the BBC.


Take it further

Add in an extra challenge to this learning by asking your class to swap their creations halfway through! Would the pupils like to test how far their rockets will go? How might they do that so that they can measure the distance accurately?

Share our Tabletop hovercraft video with your class, it shows another set of forces that can propel craft and is bound to spark a great discussion. If you're doing a topic on space or rockets, have you seen the Astro Science Challenge? It's free, supported by Tim Peake and is designed to support English and maths too.