Science Fair Projects With Rockets?
It's Not Impossible!

You don't have to attempt something that will change the world when you do science fair projects. This science experiment proves it. With only balloons, a few supplies and your brain, you're going to create the coolest rocket you can make. The design's up to you...but...

...let's not give to much away right now. Let's see what we need to do for this one...


Time - Give yourself about one week to do this one.

Stuff List

You'll need...

1. Balloons
2. Scissors
3. Ruler
4. Bag clip
5. Tape measure
6. Clear tape
7. Box or laundry basket
8. Pencil or pen
9. Construction Paper
10. Graph paper
11. Camera (with video capabilities)
12. Cardboard for display (three sided)
13. Glue
14. Paper
15. Computer (optional)


Preparation

So...you may be thinking science fair projects with balloons couldn't possibly be cool. Ah, but the best part of this one is making your own balloon rocket. Balloons are actually one of the simplest rockets you can experiment with. The principles that make it go are similar to real rockets. But...

We'll find out about that stuff in a little bit. Sure you probably had fun with balloons when you were younger. You probably played with them a lot.

But today we're asking you do to do a little more than that. We're asking you to be a scientist. And good scientists always research their subject first. So...

So we're going to ask you to research rockets. It doesn't have to be deep. Find all the books you can about rockets at your library. Look on the internet for information about how rockets go and what the look like. Maybe even research some of the different designs you find in rockets.

You want to find all the information you can on rockets. The more the better. The more you have, the easier it'll be to complete the next part. That part is...

Find that ever elusive important question. Ours today is...

How could a balloon rocket be adapted to have controlled direction?

This is a good question because we can try it out in a large, empty room or outside where there's lots of room. But don't try it yet. We need to answer our important question first!

Let's do that now.

Do you think there are ways of influencing the direction of your homemade rocket?

Blow up a balloon and let it go. What do you think made it do what it did? Write your guess down on a piece of paper. You may draw detailed designs of what you think the perfect balloon rocket may look like. Include measurements with your plan. Don't change anything until you see what the experiment does first. Remember...

...we call this guess our hypothesis. It's the most important part of our project!

Now it's time to get your stuff from the list above. Let's move to the next step.


Project

Now comes the fun part...

...let's build that rocket!

Blow up a balloon and use bag clips to hold the air in by pinching the "nozzle" of the balloon shut. Now use the plan you came up with to modify your balloon as desired. For instance you may want to put the fins on at different intervals around the balloon. Whatever you do, follow the plan you came up with on you diagram.

Ours looked something like this...


Science Fair




Using a box or laundry basket, set up a "target" for you to aim your balloon rocket at. Now, stand about fifteen (15) to twenty (20) feet from your target and aim it at your target (laundry basket). Now release the clip from your balloon rocket.

What happened? Did you get close to your target? Measure how close your rocket made it to your target and write it down...





Now take what you've learned and try another rocket design. Draw it on paper first. You may want to change the fin design or put them in different places. Try to apply what you've learned to improve on your previous design.

Now build your balloon rocket just as before only using the new design. Make it better so it flies further. Go through the same process as you did when you flew your first rocket.

Don't forget to record the new information.


Process Data

It's time to organize what you've discovered. Create a graph to neatly present your information. You may want to create a bar graph...one bar for the distance each one went. Make sure to label it with distances down the side. If you're not sure how to accomplish something like this click here for information on graphing and charting. Here's a generic graph to give you a little bit of an idea what it should look like. Remember...

It needs to be neat!





Ask yourself these questions to help you as you analyze your data...

Does the size of fins make a difference?


If the fins are placed in different places, does this make a difference?

Carefully consider each of these questions about your science fair project and give answers to them in you research. You may want to use them later in your paper. That's the next step!


Paper

It's time to tell what you've noticed. Science fair projects are just experiments if you don't have a report. So, we'll write a report about what you saw.

You should include...

1. What you guessed about the balloon rockets.
2. What you did with the balloon rockets.
3. Which balloon rocket did better?
4. If your guess was correct about the balloon rockets.

Be careful to obey all the school rules for your science fair projects report. One paragraph for each grade level should do it if you weren't given how long it should be. Be detailed as well. But make it neat.

If you want a little help with you report click here to find great ideas to get you started and get you through! Let's go to the final step of our science fair project...


Presentation

Now you get to make the display!

All science fair projects should have freestanding displays!

Carefully put three pieces of cardboard together so it looks like this...


Science Fair



If you want more information about how to put together and arrange displays click here.


You can buy science fair project displays at many retail stores as well. However you do it, make sure you follow science fair rules!

Now, on a piece of paper neatly write your important question and your guess. If you would like, type it. You might get style points!

Now, just like you did your important question, write (or type) your supply list on a separate piece of paper.

Paste your guess, supply list and report onto your display board along with any pictures you might have taken. Make sure you label each so the judges know what is what. Making sure everything looks good is important!

Try playing with some of the display ideas you see. You don't have to use the exact ones we use. Make them fun! Be creative!

And don't forget to name your project at the top of the display board. It's best to use your important question as the title. You may want to purchase stencils to make cutouts of letters. Or you may purchase already made letters at many retail stores.

Science fair projects can be fun. But add balloons and rocketry...and you'll be the talk of your class. But...of course...most of all...

Have fun!


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