Flying Teabag Science Experiment

Turn an ordinary teabag into a miniature rocket using the science of convection.

Teabags typically come in handy when you want a soothing warm drink or need an herbal remedy for a cold. But, with a little creativity, you can turn them into a fascinating science experiment. By emptying a teabag, stretching it out, and lighting its paper on fire, you can create a miniature “flying” rocket. The teabag’s cylindrical shape helps forms a “convection current,” in which the cooler, denser air outside the bag pushes the air inside the bag upward. Because the bag’s paper is so light, this air current is able to lift it into the air. 


1 teabag
A pair of scissors
Matches or a lighter
A hard, flat, nonflammable surface (such as a plate)


Remove the string and label from the teabag

Using the scissors, cut in a straight line along the top of the teabag to open it up

Unfold the teabag and empty out the tea

Stand the cylindrical teabag on a flat surface, so that it forms a kind of column

Ignite the top of the cylinder with a match or lighter

Watch as the flame travels down to the bottom of the teabag. When it has almost reached the bottom, the bag should launch into the air, like a rocket!