Match Rocket

4.4 based on 30 ratings

Updated on Jun 12, 2013



Grade Level

6 & up





Safety Issues

Adult supervision recommended.

Material Availability

All materials readily available.

Project Time Frame

4-6 weeks


This project demonstrates jet propulsion.

The goals of this project are:

  1. To demonstrate the applications of jet propulsion.
  2. To build some really cool rockets.

Materials and Equipment

  • Computer with Internet access
  • Color printer
  • Digital camera
  • Typical office/hobby/hardware/craft supplies (paper, poster board, glue, etc.)
  • Tea bags
  • Matches
  • Aluminum foil
  • Alka-Seltzer tablets
  • Plastic photo film canisters
  • Dinner plate
  • Safety goggles

All materials can be found in your home, at local stores, or on ebay.


Jet propulsion is the force that makes a rocket blast off, by pushing outward a fast-moving stream of fluid (usually air or water). This principle applies not only to rockets themselves, but also to fireworks, weapons, ejection devices, and other launch vehicles. In this project we will build our own homemade rockets. It's countdown time!

Research Questions

  1. When were the first rockets launched?
  2. What are the practical applications of jet propulsion?
  3. What is the latest technology in jet propulsion?

Terms and Concepts to Start Background Research

  • Combustion
  • Jet propulsion
  • Newton's 3rd Law

Experimental Procedure

  • Read overview of relevant topics (see bibliography below and terms listed above)
  • Address all of the above terms and research questions.
  • Search and print out interesting images of rockets.
  • Take your own photographs throughout the course of the experiment.
  • Take a medium sized paper clip and unbend it so that the large (outer) curved part rests on a plate, and the smaller (inner) part is slanted upward at a 45-degree angle.
  • With a small piece of foil, tightly cover the entire head of a match.
  • Place the match upright so it leans on the upward-facing part of the paper clip.
  • Light the wrong end of the match, and watch the flame creep upward, toward the foil.
  • Stand back!
  • Carefully record all observations.
  • Try one or more of the experiments described in the links below.
  • Analyze your data.
  • Interpret your findings in a detailed report.
  • Include interesting photos, diagrams and demonstrations in your science fair display.


  1. (Wiki topic: Rocket)
  2. (Jet Propulsion Laboratory)
  3. (Water bottle rocket)
  4. (Tea bag rocket)
  5. (Alka-Seltzer rocket)
  6. (Do this one outdoors!)
  7. Internet searches of your choosing. Search words or terms listed here, or make up your own phrases. Click on any results you find interesting. Have fun surfing the net!
Judee Shipman is a Bay Area Educational Consultant and professional writer of quality educational materials. Her recent writing credits include (a popular and entertaining website about states), and a book called The Portable Chess Coach (Cardoza, 2006), currently available in stores.

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