Science with Shields: Episode #71 – Soaring Tea Rocket

Science with Shields

ALTOONA, Pa. (WTAJ) — In this episode of Science with Shields, Christy Shields shows you how to make a rocket out of a tea bag!

What you need: 

  1. Lighter
  2. Tea bag
  3. Safety goggles
  4. Scissors
  5. Plate
  6. Container


Put your safety goggles on first. You will also need a parent or guardian for help with this experiment.

Cut a tea bag at the top (you will not need the staple or string). Then you will empty the tea into a separate container. Now make the tea bag into a cylinder that can stand up on your plate. For the next part, have a parent or guardian light the top of the cylinder. Watch the flames engulf the tea bag and soar into the sky!


When you light the cylinder, there is less air pressure in the cylinder compared to around it on the outside. You are heating the air in the cylinder and hot air always wants to rise. So now that it is on fire, there is hot air above the cylinder and inside the cylinder too. So cool air around the cylinder wants to rush into the bottom of the cylinder, and replace the hot air rising. This will help lift your rocket off the plate. We also have the flames burning the cylinder. The cylinder or tea bag is losing mass as it turns to ash. So the smoke and ash is so light that it is able to float in the air. It is also hot due to the flames, so it rises into the sky. Once the ash cools, it sinks and floats back down to earth.

Check out more Science with Shields episodes on WTAJ Plus.

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