Balloon Rockets and Newton

To teach about Newton’s Third Law, make balloon rockets.  Newton’s Third Law states: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.  Think of it this way.  If you were standing on roller blades facing a wall and push off the wall you will roll backward and the harder you push the further you will roll.

Balloon Rockets

You need a balloon, a straw, tape and string.

  1. Blow up the balloon.  While keeping the end of the balloon pinched shut with your fingers, tape the straw to the balloon.  It helps to have two people.
  2. Then fish the string through the straw, making sure that the open end of the balloon is facing backward from the way you want the balloon to go.
  3. Tie one end of the string to a chair or table leg.
  4. Then let the balloon go.  It will zip along the string like a rocket.



Ask the kids to explain how the balloon demonstrates Newton’s third law.

Additional Layers

  • Learn more about Isaac Newton.
  • Try letting the balloon go without the string and straw.  Why does it fly all over the place instead of in a straight line?
  • Who invented balloons and when?
  • Real rockets use the same principle as the balloon rocket.  Find out more about real rockets.

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