Straw Rockets


Students design and build simple rockets.

Core concepts include Newton’s laws of motion, forces, and engineering design.

The Rocket Age Takes Off is a biography of Dr. Robert Goddard's journey as an inventor. Students learn about his early life and his trials to create the first liquid-fueled rocket.

Lesson Plan Overview: Suggested 7 lessons over 8 days

Lesson 1 - Up, Up and Away!
Students begin to explore rockets made from plastic drinking straws. Student teams build straw rockets of different sizes and informally investigate how they fly when launched by blowing through a second straw.


Lesson 2 - How Do Our Rockets Go?
Students continue exploring rockets made from plastic drinking straws. They test their rockets in a systematic manner, and discuss their observations about the flight distances and patterns of the different rockets. They begin to hypothesize about why those differences might have occurred.


Lesson 3 - Straw Length
In this activity, students experiment with different straw lengths. They systematically test how straw length affects travel distance and accuracy.


Lesson 4 - Nose Weight
In this activity, students continue to explore their straw rockets. They experiment with how adding weight to the rockets’ noses affects their performance. Students continue to test their rockets systematically and explore the concept of well-designed or fair tests.


Lesson 5 - Fins aren't just for fish!
In this activity, students experiment with adding fins to their straw rockets to see how they affect the rocket's flight. Students systematically test how adding fins affects travel distance and accuracy.


Lesson 6 - Create Your Own Rockets
In this activity, students use the knowledge they've gained over the course of the challenge to build a rocket that can fly at least 5 meters and land within a small circle.


Lesson 7 - Rocket Contests
In the previous activity, students had the opportunity to create a rocket that flew at least 5 meters and land within ½ meter of a target. In this activity, student teams compete to see which team created the most accurate and longest-flying rocket.


Kit Materials

This kit provides materials for class size of 24 students working in teams of four.



International Space Rockets Poster


Straws(Individually wrapped)


Straws (assorted sizes)


Scotch Tape Roll


Kids Safe Tape Measure


Modeling Clay

1 stick

Sticky Flag Dispenser


Wooden Pegs


Index Tabs (pack of 25)


Zipper Bags


Children's Book: The Rocket Age Takes Off


Downloadable Curriculum and Supporting Files




Sample Lesson Plan

Tradebooks to Introduce STEM