3...2...1 Puff!

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In this activity, learners build small indoor paper rockets, determine their flight stability, and launch them by blowing air through a drinking straw. This lesson plan includes procedures for the two part activity, background information, diagrams for making Ares 1 paper rockets, discussion questions, extensions, and black-line masters for learners.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan, Model


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Sheets of 8.5 x 11 paper (white or colored)
  • Scissors
  • Rulers
  • Meter sticks or tape measures
  • Fat, round pencils or dowels (see tips, p. 43)
  • Drinking straws
  • Copies of the Ares I paper rocket plans (see p. 45)
  • Eye protection
  • Cellophane tape


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Astronomy
      • Probes, Satellites and Spacecraft
  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Aerospace Engineering
  • Mathematics
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Analysis
      • Data Collection
      • Data Representation
    • Geometry
      • Plane Geometry
    • Measurement
      • Units of Measurement
    • Number and Operations
  • Physical Sciences
    • Motion and Forces
      • Acceleration
      • Projectile Motion
      • Newton's Laws
      • Center of Gravity
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Mass and Weight
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results
  • The Nature of Technology
    • The Design Process
      • Invention and Innovation
      • Problem Solving
      • Troubleshooting and Maintenance

Informal Categories

  • Model Building


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • be mobile
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Shearer, Deborah A. ; Vogt, Ed.D., Gregory L.