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Launching Homemade Baking Soda Rockets

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3 buddy reviews
by Teisha Rowland, PhD
Active Time
20-30 minutes
Total Project Time
20-30 minutes
Key Concepts
chemical reactions, gravity, rockets, thrust, pressurization, carbon dioxide
Decorated rocket made from a film canister and propelled by baking soda and vinegar.

Introduction

Have you ever enjoyed watching something lift off into the air, like fireworks at a show or a spacecraft launching? It can be an amazing experience. It is thrilling to see something lift off against Earth's gravity. To launch a spacecraft, its rockets give it a strong push that is due to a chemical reaction. This means that every time you see a spacecraft launch, you are watching chemistry at work. In this activity you will get to blast an object into the air using two simple ingredients— baking soda and vinegar. Investigate how to mix these ingredients to get the best lift off, and then you could give your friends and family a homemade, gravity-defying show!

Credits

Teisha Rowland, PhD, Science Buddies
This activity is not appropriate for use as a science fair project. Good science fair projects have a stronger focus on controlling variables, taking accurate measurements, and analyzing data. To find a science fair project that is just right for you, browse our library of over 1,150 Science Fair Project Ideas or use the Topic Selection Wizard to get a personalized project recommendation.

Materials

  • Plastic film canister with a lid and tight seal. Fuji or Kodak canisters should work. Tip: Try asking a local camera shop for empty canisters.
  • Baking soda
  • Measuring spoons
  • Wax paper or bowl
  • Spoon
  • Water
  • Vinegar
  • An open outdoor area at least two meters from buildings. It is ideal to have a hard, flat surface, like a paved patio or driveway.
  • Safety goggles
  • Rag or paper towel
  • Optional: Construction paper, transparent tape, stickers, and scissors
    Materials needed to explore chemistry of baking soda vinegar rockets.
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Active Time
20-30 minutes
Total Project Time
20-30 minutes
Key Concepts
chemical reactions, gravity, rockets, thrust, pressurization, carbon dioxide