Newton's Third Law
Forces and Motion

Spinning Rocket

Enrichment Activity for 5-11 11-14

What you need

  • Pencil with a rubber on the end
  • Drawing pin
  • Drinking straw
  • Sticky tape


  1. Insert the long end of the straw into the balloon and tape it in place
  2. Push the drawing pin through any part of the long end of the straw to attach it to the pencil’s rubber.Bend the short end
  3. Blow up the balloon using the straw, release, and watch it spin!
  4. Try changing the position of the drawing pin and the angle of the short end to make it spin faster

Results and Explanation

The air rushes along the straw and around the bend. As the straw pushes on the air to force it round the corner, the air pushes back on the straw; making it move.

These experiments have not been specifically safety tested for home use but we believe them to be safe if the instructions are followed. Adult supervision or direction is recommended as appropriate. All experiments are carried out at your own risk.

Newton's Third Law
is used in analyses relating to Collisions
2023 IOP Awards

Teachers of Physics Awards

Recognising and celebrating outstanding contributions to the field of physics education.

Learn more