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High-flying STEM (Awesome Summer Science Experiments)

Check in each week at Science Buddies this summer for our Awesome Summer Science Experiments series! Each week, we'll highlight a few activities for awesome science and engineering kids can do at home. We've got a whole summer of fun STEM themes lined up for kids of all ages — for free. This week: awesome summer science experiments that take to the skies!

Rocket ship to represent High-Flying STEM Week 4 of Awesome Summer Science Experiments

Awesome High-Flying Science

Launching, throwing, blasting off, and sending things flying high into the sky can be fun for all ages. This week, we've got you covered with simple high-flying Awesome Summer Science Experiments that let kids experience the thrill of launching and flying with activities that are easy to do at home.

Independence Day (July 4) in the U.S. happens this week. While fireworks and the science behind their colors (see our 4th of July "rainbow fire" science experiment) can be lots of fun to explore, this week's Awesome Summer Science Experiments theme takes to the skies with activities that will fit right in with celebrations but are also fun anytime!

The activities in Week 4 of our Awesome Summer Science Experiments series feature various kinds of rockets, homemade kites, and a fun way to give your paper airplanes added oomph.

Awesome Summer Science Experiments Week 4: Experiment | Watch | Ask | Explore | Read Celebrate |

EXPERIMENT: High-Flying Science

Matchstick Rockets

Make tiny rockets from aluminum foil and matchsticks and learn more about propulsion and Newton's third law of motion. What's the best way to launch these rockets? How high will they fly?

Make a Kite

When it comes to combining creativity and STEM, designing and building a kite is a win-win! Kids can design kites in various sizes or shapes or with different kinds of tails to see what design elements lead to the best-flying kite. After choosing a design, there is plenty of opportunity to customize and decorate the kite before taking it for a test-flight! Be inspired! This family made awesome sled kites last year and found out the design works well even without a lot of wind!

Paper Rockets

You launch these simple paper rockets by blowing into a drinking straw. What changes to the design of the paper rocket will make it fly farthest? Does adding fins make a difference in the rocket's flight?

Baking Soda Rockets

The chemical reaction in a baking soda rocket can send the tiny rocket flying high! Experiment to see how changes to the ratio of baking soda to vinegar affect how high a film canister rocket flies. Think outside the box! This family used plastic eggs for their rockets!)

Paper Airplane Launcher

Paper airplanes may not fly as high as rockets, but with the right design, they can still travel quite a distance. Trying a launcher is a great way to level up paper airplanes. After experimenting with a simple pencil and rubber band launcher, try making a launcher from other materials. The rubber band still provides the energy, but kids can get creative designing and engineering their own launch device for maximum flight distance.

Build a Mini Drone

For the drone enthusiast, building a popsicle stick drone is a great way to explore drone science from the ground up! The basic build will get kids started. After that, there is a series of additional builds, each one exploring another aspect of drone flight science. (Note: After building the basic popsicle stick drone, the different experiments each require additional parts, and some use an Arudino, so carefully check the materials lists.)

WATCH: Videos

ASK: Questions

Use these questions to prompt conversation and reflection about the science behind this week's Awesome Summer Science Experiments activities:

  • When designing rockets or other similar shaped objects, what role might fins play?
  • How does the force of drag affect these activities?
  • What determines how high a paper rocket will fly?
  • What kinds of energy are used in the paper airplane launcher activity?


After trying this week's summer science experiments, kids can learn more about related science and engineering careers, like:

READ: Books

Pair picture and story books like these with this week's Awesome Summer Science Experiments explorations.

Cover My Rainy Day Rocket Ship cover Mousetronaut Goes to Mars cover Come Back to Earth cover Violet the Pilot cover Sadie Sprocket cover Margaret and the Moon cover Always Looking Up cover Book cover Rosie Revere cover

For more suggestions for science-themed summer reading, see our Summer Reading List. Also, don't miss this roundup of creative STEM activities for storytelling and imaginative play.


What creates the colors we see in fireworks? With the Discover the Flaming Colors of Fireworks activity and the Rainbow Fire Kit, you can safely explore the science behind fireworks at home! Following the activity directions, skewers dipped in the chemicals can be lit to see the different colors produced as different chemicals burn. What is your favorite color of fireworks? What chemical might create that color when burned? (Adult supervision required.)

Bookmark Awesome Summer Science Experiments Week 4: High-Flying STEM

Matchstick rockets, baking soda rocket, paper rocket, drone, kite, paper airplane launcher for High-Flying STEM Week 4 of Awesome Summer Science Experiments

10 Weeks of Awesome Summer Science Experiments

Follow the full summer series on the Awesome Summer Science Experiments page!

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