Pop! Rocket Launcher

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In this activity, learners construct a simple air pressure launcher for paper rockets. Learners stomp or jump on an empty 2-liter bottle and force the air inside through connected plastic pipes to propel a paper rocket. The launching activity should be done in an open space like a gymnasium or cafeteria or can be conducted outside on a calm day.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 2 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:
$10 - $20 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 4 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Empty (and rinsed) 2-liter plastic soft drink bottle
  • 2 1/2" PVC tee connectors
  • 2 1/2" PVC 45 degree elbows
  • 2 1/2" PVC caps
  • 1- 5' length of 1/2" PVC pipe
  • Duct tape
  • Ruler
  • Balloon or basketball hand pump
  • Rubber stopper or cork (#1 size, 1 hole)
  • Eye protection for anyone near launcher
  • Paper rockets
  • Fine-tooth saw or PVC cutter


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Astronomy
      • Probes, Satellites and Spacecraft
  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Aerospace Engineering
    • Technology
      • Construction
  • Mathematics
    • Measurement
  • Physical Sciences
    • Motion and Forces
      • Projectile Motion
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
  • The Nature of Technology
    • The Design Process

Informal Categories

  • Outdoor Activity
  • Physical Activity
  • Toys


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • 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.