top of page
rocket academy.png



rocket academy.png


Here you will find three, easy to complete experiments for Scouts of all ages, including a straw rocket, chemical rocket, and paper airplane catapult!​​ New to Scouting? Build your model rocket at home! When you've completed the Rocket Academy, make sure to register for Family Adventure Camp!


Create and fly three different types of paper airplanes. 

Paper airplanes are light. This helps them fly through the air when you use the power in

your muscles to propel them. But a real airplane is heavy. How does anything that big stay

in the air? 

Airplanes need to have lift to fly. Scientists explain lift with an idea called Bernoulli's

Principle. As planes travel through the air, air travels over the wings. The shape of the

wings makes the air travel faster over the top than beneath them. The difference in the air

speeds create higher pressure beneath the wings than above them. The pressure difference causes the wing to push upward, creating lift. The faster the plane moves through the air, the more air is forced under and over the wings, creating more lift. 


  1. Place a sheet of paper on a table. Fold the paper hot dog style.

  2. Unfold and then fold the corners into the center line.

  3. Fold the top edges to the center.

  4. Fold the plane in half.

  5. Fold the wings down to meet the bottom edge of the planes body.

unnamed (1).jpg


  1. Place a sheet of paper on a table. Fold the paper hamburger style.

  2. Unfold and then fold the corners into the center line.

  3. Fold the top peak down to the edge of the previous fold.

  4. Fold the upper sides to the center line.

  5. Fold the top about 1/2 inch away from you.

  6. Fold the plane in half towards you.

  7. Fold both flaps out to create the wings. The body will be about a half inch tall. You may want a small piece of tape on the top to keep the wings from popping up or separating.

1 (1).jpg
2 (1).jpg
3 (1).jpg
4 (1).jpg
5 (1).jpg


  1. Place a sheet of paper on a table. Fold the paper hot dog style.

  2. Unfold and then fold the corners into the center line.

  3. Fold the top peak down to create a square.

  4. Fold the top two corners to the center about an inch above the downward facing point, to form a triangle shape on top and a diamond shape on bottom.

  5. Fold the downward facing point up to secure the flaps.

  6. Fold the plane in half away from you and flatten it out.

  7. Fold the edges down to create the wide wings.

3 (2).jpg
4 (2).jpg
5 (2).jpg
6 (1).jpg
7 (1).jpg

Now make a paper airplane catapult!

Have you ever seen pictures of a fighter jet being launched from an aircraft carrier? Because the ship has a short runway, the flight deck crew hooks the jet to a catapult to fling it into the sky. 

Materials Needed:

  • Your favorite paper airplane you made

  • A rubberband

  • A pencil

  • A hole punch


  1. Make a hole near the nose of your favorite airplane design using a single hole punch.

  2. Loop a rubberband into the hole.

  3. Launch your plane using a pencil or your finger with the rubberband.

Screen Shot 2020-04-29 at 6.39.04 PM.png


Soda Straw Rockets are an excellent opportunity for youth to practice the engineering design process. This activity provides a template that creates a rocket that can be launched from a soda straw. Scouts are then challenged to modify the design to see how the changes impact the rocket performance. Length, fin shape or angle can be changed–one variable at a time–to see how the rocket launch performs, and compares to the control design.



  1. Carefully cut out the large rectangle on the rocket template. This will be the body of the rocket. Then wrap the rocket body around a pencil length-wise and tape it closed to form a tube.

  2. Carefully cut out the two fin units. Align the rectangle in the middle of the fin with the end of the rocket body, and tape it to the rocket body. Nothing should stick out past the bottom of the rocket body.

  3. Do the same thing for the other fin, but tape it on the other side of the pencil to make a “fin sandwich.”

  4. Bend the part of the fin that looks like a triangle 90 degrees so that each fin is at a right angle to its neighbor. Looking at the bottom of the rocket, the fins should look like a +.

  5. Twist and pinch the top of the rocket body around the tip of the pencil to create a "nose cone" for the rocket. Tape the nose cone to prevent air from escaping and to keep it from untwisting.

  6. Measure the nose cone from its base (right where it starts to narrow) to its tip, and record the length in their data log and on the rocket itself. (Once completed, the rocket will be about 13 cm (about 5 in) tall.

  7. Remove the pencil and replace it with the soda straw.

  8. In the designated launch area, away from people and other hazards, blow into the straw to launch your rocket.

  9. Use the meter stick/yard stick/measuring tape to measure the distance it travels, then record the distance on your data log.

  10. Can you make your rocket fly farther? Make new rockets by altering the template. Try different rocket lengths, fin shapes, fin sizes, or fin angles. Repeat steps 6 and 9 for every launch, recording each design change and distance in your data log. Make only one change at a time, so you will know which design changes result in changes in performance.



Anchor 1


Demonstrate Newton's third law of motion. Make a paper rocket propelled by Alka-Seltzer and water or baking soda and vingear. Guaranteed fun for the whole family.

Materials Needed:

  • Paper cut to 5x8 inches or a large index card

  • Empty film canister with lid that snaps inside

  • Markers, crayons or colored pencils

  • Tape

  • Scissors

  • Alka-Seltzer tablets or baking soda (baking soda to use with vinegar)

  • Water or vinegar (vinegar to use with baking soda)

  • Ruler


  1. Decorate the paper — get creative! This will form the body of your rocket.

  2. Roll the paper into an 8-inch-tall tube. Slide the empty film canister into the tube so that the
    canister opens at one end of the tube. Securely tape the paper to the canister. You do not
    want these two parts to separate.

  3. Now, tape closed the 8-inch-long seam of the paper tube.

  4. Cut two triangular paper fins and tape them onto the rocket.

  5. Make a small paper cone and tape it to the top of the rocket if you would like a nose cone.

  6. Hold the rocket upside down and add water to the canister to one-quarter full.

  7. Add half a tablet of Alka-Seltzer or to the film canister and quickly snap on the lid.

  8. Place the rocket on the ground, lid down. Stand back and count down while you are waiting
    for launch.

taping-rocket-fs-md (1).png
rocket-overhead-fs-md (1).png

Watch Meteorologist Kelly Dobeck with Cleveland 19 News show us how to make an alka seltzer rocket!



Model rocketry is a great way to learn about space exploration. The rocket you build won’t

reach space, but the science and technology that goes into your rocket is the same as NASA

uses in launching giant rockets. Model rockets are made of paper, balsa wood, plastic, glue,

and paint. You build them with simple tools such as a modeling knife, sandpaper, scissors, rulers, and

paintbrushes. Model rockets are powered by solid propellant rocket engines. Depending on the size and

design of the rocket and the power of the engine, model rockets may fly only 50 feet high or up to a half

mile in altitude. They are powerful, and through misuse could harm animals, people, or property. By

following the rules below, you can launch your rockets in complete safety over and over.


If you have never built a model rocket before, it is best to start with a simple kit. The kit will consist of a body tube, nose cone, fins, engine mount, and parachute or some other recovery system that will gently lower your rocket to the ground at the end of its flight. Engines must be purchased separately from the rocket.

If you are a brand new Scout, you should have received a free model rocket when you signed up for Scouting. If you are an existing Scout planning on attending Family Adventure Camp, you will receive a rocket at camp!


  • Estes Gnome Model Rocket

  • Super Glue

  • Pencil

  • Straight edge/ruler

  • Utility Knife


Screenshot 2021-08-04 060304.png

1. Assemble the Nose Cone: Using super glue, attach the nose cone insert to the nose cone. Let dry.

Screenshot 2021-08-04 055612.png

2. Create Body Tube:

  • Using a door frame or a ruler, draw a straight line down the length of the body tube.

  • Then measure 1 1/2" from one end and make a horizontal line.

  • Then measure 3/8" AND 1 1/2"  from the other end and make two horizontal lines with your pencil.

  • See diagram below for a sample. 

  • Using your knife, and with the help of an adult, make an 1/8" cut at both 1 1/2" lines you drew. DO NOT CUT AT 3/8" LINE. 

  • Then attach engine hook to one of the cuts you just made.

Screenshot 2021-08-04 060342.png

3. Attach Fin:

  • Apply a small amount of super glue around the body tube and engine hook, about halfway up between the bottom of the tube and the top of the engine hook. See photo for details.

  • Slide the fin onto your rocket and secure in place with the engine hook. Make sure the engine hook lines up with the slot in the fin assembly.

  • Let Dry. 

Screenshot 2021-08-04 103914.png

4. Attach Shock Cord & Launch Lug:

  • Use a pencil to push one end of the shock cord into the slit you created at the top of the body tube. 

  • The pull the shock cord through the tube and out the top. See image below for an example. 

  • Leave about 1/8" of shock cord on the outside of the slit you created. 

  • Then add super glue around the body tube at your slit. The launch lug will hold the shock cord in place after the glue dries. 

  • Slide the launch lug onto the body tube. VERY IMPORTANT: Make sure the hole in the launch lug lines up with the hole in the fin. This is necessary in order to launch your rocket. Use a ruler or your pencil to line them up. 

  • Erase your line along the body tube and let dry. 

Screenshot 2021-08-11 065441.png

4. Attach Nose Cone:

  • Using super glue, attach the nose cone insert to the nose cone. Let dry.​ DO NOT ATTACH NOSE CONE TO BODY TUBE. If your nose cone gets glue onto your body tube and stuck together, the nose cone will not release during launching. 

  • Double knot shock cord to nose cone insert.

  • Steps 2 and 3 pictured below will be completed AT the rocket launch. Disregard when constructing your rocket at home. 

  • Using tape, attach streamer to shock cord. See photo below. 

  • Roll up the streamer and stuff streamer and nose cone into body tube. Make sure the glue is dry on the nose cone!

Then attend a Family Adventure Camp to launch your rocket!!!

Screenshot 2021-08-11 071149.png

Learn how to build an Estes Gnome Rocket with Scoutmaster Robbie White from Billings, Montana!




The Lab


Back to the Academy

rocket acadely phpots.png
Once you've completed your Rocket Academy Mission, make sure to register for Family Adventure Camp!
All families are invited to go camping at an upcoming Family Adventure Camp! Here Scouts will launch their rockets, shoot bows & arrows, go fishing, roast marshmallows, and more!
mission complete1.png
bottom of page