Rocket science is complicated but you can explain some of its basic ideas to teach children. Rockets use power and thrust to fly. You can see this concept in action by building and launching a model rocket. Of course, ignition fuel can be dangerous, and although baking soda and vinegar is a safer ignition option, it is messy. A simple straw rocket can demonstrate aeronautic design and thrust without using dangerous or messy ingredients to launch. Your child can launch a straw rocket with a drinking straw.
Place the pencil along the long edge of a sheet of 8 1/2-inch by 11-inch copy paper. Roll the paper loosely around pencil to form a tube that is slightly larger than the pencil. Cut off the remainder of the paper in a straight line.
Seal the entire length of the open edge of the tube with tape.
Pinch and twist one end of the open paper tube using the pencil tip underneath the paper as a guide to form a cone shape.
Take the paper which you cut away and cut it in half to form two squares. Cut each square at a diagonal to form two triangles from each square.
Tape the triangles at equal distance around the edge of the open end of the cylinder to make the fins. Face the short edge of the triangles against the tube as you tape.
Remove the pencil and replace it with the drinking straw. Blow through the straw to launch the rocket.
Try variations of different sizes or numbers of fins to see how they impact the flight of the rocket. Decorate your rocket by colouring the paper before construction or placing stickers on it after it is built.
Never aim the rocket toward a person or breakable object.