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Baking soda and vinegar can be an explosive mixture. This activity uses that explosive potential to launch a rocket.
Children are really impressed by these rockets. They shoot up into the air with a bang and make a BIG mess in the process. What could be better than that? They are easy to put together and mostly require things that you can find around the house. Assembling and preparing the rockets provides an fun and easy way for family members to spend time together. Watching the rocket launch will be a memorable experience, and one that children will recount over and over, complete with sound effects and appropriate hand movements.
If you have a video camera you might want to video the launch. Your children may want to watch it repeatedly, especially if you can play it in slow motion.
- How high do you think our rocket will go?
- What do you think we should name our rocket?
- Imagine if we could shoot our rocket into space, where do you think it would go?
- Imagine if you were an ant sitting in the bottle, what do you think it would feel like as the rocket launched?
- What would you see?
Instructions for making and launching a baking soda and vinegar rocket can be found here.
You will need
- 16 oz plastic pop bottle
- Rubber stopper or a wine cork (that fits in the opening of bottle)
- Baking soda
- Strong tape (such as duct tape)
- Three unused pencils
- White vinegar
- Paper towel
- Safety glasses
The only thing that may be a little tricky is finding a rubber stopper. Wine corks work just as well, but they need to be unused. See if you can get one from a friend who makes wine. Alternatively take your pop bottle to a wine making store to find one that fits. If your stopper or cork is a little loose, wrap a small strip of paper towel around it to make it fit snugly. Adult and children’s safety goggles can be bought from Amazon quite inexpensively. They are a handy thing to have around when you are using powered garden or woodworking tools
This is a safe activity if you follow a few safety considerations: Make sure you understand these rules before launching your rocket.
- Only launch your rocket in a wide-open space outdoors.
- Move quickly to place the rocket on the launchpad once the vinegar and baking soda are mixed.
- Move away from the launch pad as soon as you place your rocket in launch position.
- Never stand directly above the rocket or look straight down at it on the launch pad.
- Wear protective safety goggles when you set off your rocket.
- Adult supervision is needed.