Exploring the Solar System: Stomp Rockets

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In "Exploring the Solar System: Stomp Rockets," participants learn about how some rockets carry science tools—not scientists—into space, and how a special kind of rocket called "sounding rockets" can be used for quick, low-flying scientific missions into space. Participants will build and launch their own air rockets to help imagine the challenges and triumphs of engineering spacecraft and launching them into a specific region of the space above our planet.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per student

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Model


Materials List (per student)

  • Two plastic 2-liter bottles (collect more for backups)
  • Flexible tubing with tornado maker attachment
  • Rigid PVC pipe (rocket-rolling guides)
  • Colored copy paper
  • Scissors
  • Clear tape
  • Balloon pump
  • Make your own Sounding Rocket instructions sheet
  • Communication and science tool stickers and info sheet
  • Sounding Rockets target poster


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Astronomy
      • Probes, Satellites and Spacecraft
    • Earth Processes
      • Weather and Climate
    • Earth Structure
      • Oceans and Water
      • Atmosphere
    • Earth, Moon and Sun
    • Earth's History
      • Geologic Time
    • Solar System
      • The Sun
      • The Moon
      • The Planets
      • Asteroids and Comets
  • Physical Sciences
    • Motion and Forces
      • Acceleration
      • Projectile Motion
  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Aerospace Engineering
    • Technology

Informal Categories

  • Model Building


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • National Informal STEM Education Network

Source Collection

  • NISE Network


Funding Source:

  • NASA, NNX16AC67A