Launching an empty tea bag reveals the power of density differences and convection currents.
The Tea Bag Liftoff is an adaptation of a classic science demonstration called the “Ditto-Paper Rocket.”* Each two-page Ditto master had a sheet of tissue paper separating the two pages. It was this discarded tissue paper that teachers used to make the “rockets.” Since Ditto paper is – thank goodness – a thing of the past, science enthusiasts have found a simpler, albeit smaller, replacement: an empty tea bag.
*Ditto paper was used in schools many years ago (ask your grandparents). It printed purple ink on paper and produced an unforgettable smell from freshly printed copies. Come to find out later, however, that both the Ditto machine solvent and the ink were highly toxic to humans. Apparently, no one seemed to care back then. Go figure.