• Place the bottle with the penny back in the freezer for another hour.  

     • Take the bottle out of the freezer and carefully hold the sides of the bottle with both hands.

     • Keep holding the bottle and wait till the penny moves.

What does the penny do? The air inside the bottle is very cold from being in the freezer. The heat of your hands holding onto the bottle warms the air inside the bottle. As we mentioned before, warm air moves around and takes more space than cold air. The heated air needs more room. The penny is moved out of the way by the pressure of the heated air.  

Experiment 3: Matchstick Rockets

For this experiment, it is very important to have ADULT SUPERVISION. Please be very careful as you complete this experiment, as there will be fire used to propel these matchstick rockets through combustion.

Items Needed:

     • Matchbook matches or wooden stick matches

     • Lighter (optional)

     • Small squares of aluminum foil

     • Paperclip or safety pin

     • Rock

     • Container of water or fire extinguisher (just in case)


     • Take one match and wrap a small amount of aluminum foil tightly around the match head.

     • At the base of the match head, make a small opening in the foil by inserting the paperclip or safety pin and bending it slightly upward, then remove the paperclip or safety pin.

     • Place the rock on a hard surface covered with aluminum foil.

     • Place the foiled match on the rock, angled away from observers.

     • Ignite a fire with either a lighter or another match and hold the flame under the foiled match until its combustion temperature is reached (you will know this has occurred when the match starts to move).  

The match rocket is propelled when the match burns in the closed environment of the aluminum foil. The smoke and gas created by this burning are the propulsion agent that carries the match rocket away from the observers. The size of the opening made in the aluminum foil will cause different speeds of propulsion.


As you study rocket science, you will learn more and more about how scientists discover the different aspects needed for successful aerospace engineering. God is not surprised by any of these discoveries because they follow the laws that He set in place from the beginning. Have fun experimenting with propulsion! 

Melissa Pinkley enjoys life with her husband, Wes. They learn a lot from their four children: Ben, Micah, Levi and Abigail. Homeschooling goes on 24/7 for the whole Pinkley family. They have been homeschooling for 10+ years.  The Lord is gracious and continues to help them follow Him.

This article was originally published in the Sep/Oct 2010 issue of Home School Enrichment Magazine. Request your own FREE sample copy by visiting http://HomeSchoolEnrichment.com