Lifelong Learning Programme

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Title of the Experience
Balloon rocket
Name of the teacher
Aleksandar Angelov (center for creative education)
Country where it took place
School typology
High Secondary School
Thematic Area
Maths, Physics, Technology, Science
Experience typology
Teaching in class
Type of contact
Description of the Experience
Objective: To solve a problem – sipping a load by using a balloon rocket.
Description: Students build rockets from a balloon and use them to ship a load of one paper clip.
This activity is best carried out when students work in teams of 3-4 people. It takes about 1 hour. The activity focuses on scientific process of experimentation.

Basic information:
The mass of the rocket is of great importance for a successful flight. A general principle of the rocket flight is that the rocket will be off the ground when the engine produce thrust greater than the total mass of the vehicle. The big rockets that are able to carry spacecraft in space have serious weight problems. To achieve suitable space and orbital velocities it is used much propellant and thus containers, engins and other rocket related parts become bigger. To a point bigger rockets fly farther than the smaller rockets, but when they become too big their units pull them down. One possible solution of the problem of giant rockets and their too much weighing is the invention of the manufacturer of fireworks from the 16th century - Johann Shmidlap. Shmidlap attached small rockets on top of bigger ones. When the big rocket exhausts its fuel, the big rocket fell and the small rocket engine ignites. Thus it is achieved much greater height.
Thanks to the multistage rockets we can not only reach height of the space shuttle, but also the moon and other planets using different spacecraft.

Materials and tools:
Big long party balloons (several for each team)
Fishing cord
Plastic straws
Small paper or styrofoam cups
Paper clips
Counter scales

1. Secure the one end of the cord to the ceiling (lamp) or high on the wall. Try to attach a clip to the cord and make a connection with the lamp. Make a descending pass the cord to the floor for each group. Note: The cord could be ruled in metric units with a marker for to be easier for students to determine the traveled distance.
2. Inflate the balloon and hold it closed with a clip. You will remove the clip before launching.
3. Use a small cup to carry the load in it. Attach the cup to the balloon by using a tape for paper. Encourage students to think of creative ways and places to attach the cup.
4. Attach the straw outside the balloon by using a tape for paper. Make sure the straw is attached lengthwise the balloon. You will use it to thread the cord through it.
5. Thread the cord through the straw. Launch the rocket by removing the clip. Note: The cord must be extended to allow the rocket to move smoothly over it. The opening of the balloon should not be twisted when launching.
6. After the rocket having launched by each group the students need to surmise what weight it can lift to the ceiling. Allow students to change their rocket project after each trial (to add extra balloons, to change the place of the cup, to change the balloon as it loses its elasticity, etc.)
7. Teacher evaluates the performance of the teams according to the evaluation table.
1. Compare what you learn about balloons and rockets.
2. Why the balloon launches pass the cord?

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Dissemination Seminar in Florence

31 October 2015 The seminar has been held in ITIS “A. Meucci” one of the schools involved within Goerudio project activities. Its main aim was to promote the results of the project toward a broad sample of stakeholders even overcrossing the number of people directly involved in the production of project outcomes. This purpose has been totally achieved especially thanks to the participation of students and teachers coming from different schools or from other classes instead of those ones directly involved within the project activities.