Make a 2-Stage Balloon Rocket STEM Activity
Have fun experimenting with this 2-stage balloon rocket that demonstrates how a real multi-stage rocket works. Two or more rockets linked together form a multi-stage rocket that will propel a spacecraft farther than a single rocket. A 2-stage rocket blasts off when the first stage ignites and carries the rocket into the air. When the first stage has used all its fuel and falls away toward Earth, the second stage ignites and continues to carry the rocket higher.
In this 2-stage balloon rocket, the round balloon is the first stage and the long balloon is the second stage. When the air in the round balloon releases, the balloon-craft propels through the air. As the round balloon deflates, its wedge-hold releases the neck of the long balloon. As the first stage balloon the falls to the ground, the second stage balloon continues to propel the balloon-craft through the air.
- Round Balloon
- Long Balloon
- Paper Cup
- Transparent Tape
- Balloon Pump (optional)
Using scissors, carefully cut the bottom out of the paper cup.
Partially inflate the long balloon, then pull the neck through the paper cup (from the wide end to the narrow end). Fold the neck of the balloon over the side of the cup and tape it down to prevent air from escaping.
Carefully push the round balloon into the open end of the cup. Inflate the round balloon so it wedges the neck of the long balloon in place against the cup. Hold the neck of the round balloon to keep the air inside it.
Balloon Rocket Launch
The 2-stage balloon rocket is now ready for launch! Before launching, ensure plenty of room for balloon movement. Then, peel the tape from the neck of the long balloon.
With arms extended, point the balloon rocket into the air. Let go of the round balloon neck to launch the first stage. As air rushes out of the round balloon, the craft propels forward. When the round balloon deflates and falls to the ground, the neck of the long balloon releases to launch the second stage. Watch carefully, because the entire series of events takes just a couple of seconds! Did the balloon rocket perform as expected? If it seems that the balloon rocket fizzled too quickly or turned downward too soon, try it again! Since the balloons and cup are re-usable for several launches, experiment with different amounts of air inflation. Also, try pointing the balloon rocket at different angles. And finally, if possible, have a friend video the launch in slow motion!
Posted in Activities & Crafts, Space Scouts