Paper Rockets

Paper Rockets

120 Minutes | 4th – 8th Grades

paperrocketsUsing a bike pump and launching apparatus, students will make paper rockets that can fly up to 200 feet in the air! This activity is a great example of the design process, and an introduction to basic trajectory physics. Students will select from a variety of paper materials (note cards, card stock, copy paper) to make their rocket body from, and then affix a nosecone and fins to complete the assembly. The rockets are then brought outside and tested, first at an angle of 90° to determine the maximum height and initial velocity (using the elapsed time of flight). Then in a second launch (time permitting) students are presented with a challenge to make their rocket fly as high and far as possible, by setting the angle of the launch tube. Afterwards, the class compiles the data and analyzes the results to see which body material, angle, number of fins, etc. worked the best!

This activity has highly variable range of levels of intricacy, and can be conducted very effectively with any range of students.

Lesson Plan:
Lesson Plan – Paper Rockets

Student Handout
Nosecone Template
Fin Template
Data Analysis Excel Template

Paper Rockets PowerPoint
Paper Rockets Prezi
AIAA Science of Rockets Presentation


  • 4.3-5-ETS1-3. Plan and carry out tests of one or more design features of a given model or prototype in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify which features need to be improved. Apply the results of tests to redesign a model or prototype

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