Get kids thinking about how things go by setting up this super simple balloon rocket physics activity that is more like play! Join our Operations Manager Jess Castle and 2019 Child Director AshLynn Humphrey as they make this Cupid Balloon Rocket!
- A clothespin
- Cupid Printout
1. Locate two anchor points across the room from each other. We used two chairs.
2. Measure and cut a length of string to fit the distance.
3. Tie one end of the string to one anchor point.
4. Thread the straw onto the other end of the string before tying off that end on the 2nd anchor point. Make sure the string is taught between the two points.
5.Blow up the balloon and secure it with a clothespin.
6. Print and cut out the cupid or draw your own. You can even draw on the balloon with a Sharpie!
7. Tape your paper cupid to the balloon.
8. Tape the balloon to the straw.
TIME FOR ACTION!
Release the clothespin and watch cupid fly! Note what happens! Once your balloon has reached the other end of the string, slide it back. You may need to readjust or fix the tape. Blow the balloon up and try again!
So how exactly does Cupid get its go? It’s all about the thrust and Newton’s Third Law of Motion that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Let’s start with thrust. You blow up the balloon, so now it’s filled with gas. When you release the balloon the air/gas escapes creating a forward pushing motion called thrust! Thrust is created by the energy released from the balloon. Then, you can bring in Sir Isaac Newton. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. This is the third law of motion. When the gas is forced out of the balloon it pushed back against the air outside the balloon which then pushes the balloon forward! Kids will love testing out this science concept over and over again, and you can easily turn it to an experiment for the older kids by adjusting the variables. You can even add a stopwatch! Test out different shaped balloons. Change the angle, tightness, or even type of string! Talk about what happens fig your string is droopy or if the string is as thick as the diameter of the straw opening. How do those factors change the movement of the balloon? Try a flying cupid race and set up two strings. Have the kids race their balloon rockets!