Up, Up and Away with Bottles

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In this activity, learners make water rockets to explore Newton's Third Law of Motion. Learners make the rockets out of plastic bottles and use a bicycle pump to pump them with air. Learners will experiment to find the best amount of water to make the rocket go high and design fins to improve flight. This activity works best in a large open area outside. [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on Archive.org.]

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Model


Materials List (per student)

  • plastic PET bottle
  • bicycle pump
  • water
  • rubber stopper to firmly fit inside the neck of the bottle
  • inflating nozzle like those used for inflating basketballs
  • cardboard carton with hole to support neck of bottle
  • materials for fins (cardboard, i.e.)
  • drill


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Astronomy
      • Probes, Satellites and Spacecraft
  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Aerospace Engineering
      • Transportation Engineering
    • Technology
      • Transportation
  • Physical Sciences
    • Motion and Forces
      • Newton's Laws
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
  • The Nature of Technology
    • The Design Process
      • Invention and Innovation
      • Problem Solving
      • Troubleshooting and Maintenance

Informal Categories

  • Model Building
  • Outdoor Activity
  • Physical Activity
  • Transportation


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Access Rights:

  • Free access