Physics by the Fire: Matchstick Rocket

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Learners build a small rocket using a matchstick and a piece of aluminum foil. A second, lit match launches the match rocket. This activity involves fire; adult supervision required.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
free per student

Age Range:
Ages 11 - 14

Resource Type:


Materials List (per student)

  • 2 matches
  • A small square of aluminum foil
  • A larger piece of aluminum foil
  • A pin
  • A paperclip


  • Physical Sciences
    • Heat and Thermodynamics
      • Heat and Temperature
    • Motion and Forces
      • Newton's Laws
    • States of Matter
      • Gases
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Asking Questions
      • Conducting Investigations


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • American Physical Society


  • All rights reserved, American Physical Society, 2012