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Water Rockets

Prior to the tournament, students use 2-liter soda/pop bottles to build one or more rockets propelled by pressurized air and water. Rockets will be launched at the Tournament and time aloft recorded.  The rocket that stays aloft for the longest time will win.

Study Guides

Training Videos


Are students allowed to use glue to attach fins to the rocket?

We no longer prohibit the use of any specific glue.  Care should be taken to not compromise the integrity of the of pressure vessel when attaching parts to it.

Refer to the rules, and the video posted above "Bottle vs. Glue Test".

Will rockets be launched at the tournaments rain or shine?

Rocket launches may be called off due to weather.

See the Launch Criteria on our web site.

Are students allowed to bring a step stool so that they can reach their nose cone once the rocket is on the launcher?

We will provide a step stool so that students can reach the rocket to make necessary adjustment.  The Supervisor will also be available to adjust part of the rocket if needed.  Once the rocket has been pressurized, students are not allowed to touch the rocket for safety reasons; again the Supervisor will help.


If the Rockets launch is cancelled the night before a tournament, is there a chance that decision will be reversed on tournament day?

No.  The cancellation of the Water Rocket event on the night before a tournament will stand regardless of how the weather turns out on tournament day.

 It is still possible that if the launch is not cancelled the night before, it could still be cancelled if tournament day conditions become unfavorable, as described in our launch policy.

 Teams will not be expected to bring their rocket if the launch is cancelled the night before.  We will be working to organize an alternate launch date.

Will parents or coaches be allowed to accompany students to the check-in table, or close to the launcher to take pictures?

No.  Parents and coaches will be expected to stay back in the designated area.  They will also be expected to respect the policy of not coaching from the sidelines.

If my school has more than one team participating, may they use the same device?

At the Macomb Tournament, no.  Each team that has a separate team number must have their own device.   Two devices from the same school may be very similar in design, but the students who compete are still expected to make their own device.  Every device must be marked with the Team number.  Accordingly, only one Event Team will be allowed to compete with a given device at that tournament.

At practice tournaments, teams are generally allowed to register more than 17 students, and have “Alternate Team Members” compete.  In these situations, there may be more than one Event Team registered for a given event and team number.  Those multiple event teams may use the device that has their team number.  For more information on participation rules at practice tournaments, see the information published on the Macomb Science Olympiad website, or contact the practice tournament director.

Are you allowed to use 2 liter bottles that have ridges?

Yes, you are allowed to use any shape carbonated 2 liter soda bottle.  You are not allowed to modify structural integrity of the pressure vessel

Can a small timer mechanism from a kitchen timer be used inside the upper portion of the rocket if it contains a metal shaft and plastic gears?

No metal parts other than a swivel to attach the parachute to the rocket are allowed.  Please refer to construction section 5 of rules.

Does our rocket need a guide straw?

No.  You will see this mentioned in the 2010 Supervisor Comments video, but our launchers no longer have a guide post and thus the guide straw is not needed.

Did you not find the answer to your question in the FAQs?

Ask your rules clarification question here

Event Supervisor

Ryan Rossi

Macomb Science Olympiad

P.O. Box 763, Sterling Heights, MI 48311

For questions about the Elementary division, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.