Make a Rocket Card
This month we are running a Kickstarter campaign. Kickstarter is a website that helps people and small businesses bring creative projects to life through crowd funding. We’re big fans of it and have wanted to get involved with Kickstarter for a while, so we are using it to launch our first seasonal science kit: STEM Into Christmas. The kit will have materials to make science-powered interactive Christmas cards. The idea is that the child you buy the kit for has lots of fun making the cards and exploring the science that makes them work and then has some excellent Christmas cards to give out to friends and family.
You can see our Kickstarter campaign here. By making a pledge you can get one of these festive science kits and help to make lots of people’s Christmas a little bit more awesome.
We developed and tested a lot of different designs for these cards before choosing the final four. We had some fun ideas for designs that we rejected because we thought they would be quite easy to do without any special materials. So we thought it would be better to share the instructions here.
Making a Rocket Card
You will need
1 Card – blank if you want to decorate it yourself
1 drinking straw
1 elastic band
2 paper clips
Pens/stickers for decorating
On the inside of the card draw two lines about 3cm in from each side.
Write your message on the inside of the card.
Fold both sides of the card in along the line, you can fold it over a ruler to make sure it is straight.
Stick the straw to the inside of the card near the fold with sticky tape.
Close the card so the two fold you just made overlap making a triangle shape.
Use two paper clips to hold it shut.
Attach a balloon to one end of the straw and hold it on with an elastic band.
Give your rocket card to your friend and tell them how to launch it.
Blow into the straw to inflate the balloon. If you need to take another breath you can pinch the straw to stop the air getting out.
Pinch the straw and set the card down.
Release the straw and let the card go.
When you release the balloon, air can escape from the back, but not from the front. This leaves an imbalanced force as the air in the balloon puts pressure onto the walls of the balloon in all directions. In the up and down directions the forces balance, but because air can escape backwards, the forward force is not balanced by a backward force, and the whole card is propelled forwards!
We happened to be making a test print of our new limited edition festive sticker sheet today, so we decided to decorate our rocket balloon with them:
The sticker sheet is available as part of the rewards for our Kickstarter campaign (and as an add-on).
If you’d like more science-powered Christmas cards take a look at our Kickstarter campaign: STEM into Christmas
A note about straws: paper straws don’t work in this card (trust us, we tried) but chitosan, silicone and bamboo straws will all work fine. The card needs to be stiff enough to attach tightly to the balloon without getting crushed. Any reusable straw will do, which makes sense because you want the Christmas card to be highly reusable!