• Piece of string, 10 to 25 feet in length
    • Drinking straw
    • Balloon
    • Scotch Tape

    Tie one end of the string to a tree or post. Thread the straw onto the free end of the string, and then tie that end of the string to a second tree or post, making sure the string is taut. Move the straw to one end of the string.

    Inflate the balloon and pinch the neck to prevent the air from escaping. Use two pieces of Scotch Tape to attach the inflated balloon to the straw so the balloon is parallel to the straw and the mouth of the balloon points toward the closest post or tree.

    Release the balloon.

    The balloon and straw jet across the string until the balloon completely deflates.

    As Sir Isaac Newton's third law of motion states: For every action there is an opposite and equal reaction. When you release the neck of the balloon and the compressed air rushes out into space, the reaction to it sends the balloon forward.


    • The basic principle behind a balloon zooming across a string is exactly the same principle behind a space rocket launching into space. When the fuel burns, gas escapes from the rocket's bottom, and the opposite reaction sends the rocket upward.
    • The cruise liner Queen Elizabeth II moves approximately fifty feet for each gallon of diesel fuel it burns.
    • The longest recorded flight of a chicken is thirteen seconds.
    • In 1895, Lord Kelvin, president of the Royal Society, said: "Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible."
    • In 1921, responding to rocket scientist Robert Goddard's revolutionary work, a New York Times editorial said: "Professor Goddard does not know the relation between action and reaction and the need to have something better than a vacuum against which to react. He seems to lack the basic knowledge ladled out daily in high schools." Five years later, Goddard launched the first liquid fuel rocket.
    • In 1927, Felix the Cat became the first cartoon character ever to be made into a balloon for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

    During the space race in the 1960s, NASA spent $1 million to develop a ballpoint pen that would write in zero gravity. The Soviet Union solved the same problem by giving their cosmonauts pencils.

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WARNING: A responsible adult should supervise any young reader who conducts these experiments to avoid potential dangers and injuries. The author has conducted every experiment and has made every reasonable effort to ensure that the experiments are safe when conducted as instructed; however, the author does not assume any liability for damage caused or injury sustained from conducting these projects.

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