FILM CANISTER ROCKET
This activity is written for students of
all ages. Students will become familiar with a chemical reaction
of acids and bases.
- baking soda
- Plastic film canister, where lid is male.
- 8 1/2 x 11 paper
- rocket template
- baking soda
- soda bottle
- cork to fit soda bottle
- Pour a tablespoon of water into a film can.
- Drop a 1/2 seltzer tablet into the water. Notice the fizz.
- Break up two seltzer tablets and place them into the soda
- Pour 1/4 cup of water into the bottle and quickly put the opening
of the balloon over the top of the bottle. Swish the contents of the
bottle around several times and observe what happens to the balloon.
The balloon should blow up.
- Pour another tablespoon of water into the film can and drop in
another 1/2 seltzer tablet.
- Snap on the lid of the film can, and stand back. The lid should
come off with a pop.
- Repeat step 5 + 6 using the baking soda and vinegar. Rap some
baking soda in a piece of light paper to delay the reaction some so you
can get the film can lid on.
- You may repeat steps 5 + 6 again, this time using a small piece
of chalk and vinegar. This however may take some time, as the chalk
dissolves very slowly.
- Repeat steps 5 + 6 using any combination of fuel, the soda bottle
and the cork on top. Do this one outside however, as the cork may come
off with considerable force. Put the cork on snuggly. Cool!
- The culminating event is to use the rocket template (click here for the template) to make a rocket out
of a film canister.
- Take the film canister and place it upside down.
- Take an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper, and tape it to the film
canister, leaving the lid portion about 1/4'' from the bottom of the
- Roll the paper around the film canister creating a fuselage.
- Using the rocket template, cut off the corners, fold them at the
perforated line, and tape them to the bottom of the rocket slightly
above the film canister. These are your fins. Should have at least
- Cut out the center circle from the template, and cut the slit
that is marked to the center of the circle. Twist it around to make a
cone for the tip of the rocket. Tape it on. With a little decorating,
your rocket is now ready.
- Try the various fuels to propel your rocket, and record the
results. If the paper on the rocket gets too wet, make another rocket,
they are easy.
When you added the seltzer tablets
to water, a chemical reaction took place producing gas bubbles. You
could hear the gas fizzing in both the open film can and the bottle. It
was the gas from the seltzer that blew up the balloon and it was the
pressure of this gas that popped the top of the film can.
When a seltzer tablet dissolves in
water, a chemical change takes place and carbon dioxide gas (CO2)
is formed. Most seltzer tablets contain a base called sodium
bicarbonate (baking soda) and dehydrated citric acid. When the tablet
is place in contact with the water, the citric acid combines with the
baking soda. Acids and bases undergo a chemical reaction when they mix,
producing a gas and salt. In the closed container, the newly created
gas has no place to go since the closed container is already full of
air. This is like trying to add more air to a balloon that is already
full. The pressure inside the container eventually escapes by blowing
up the balloon, blowing out the cork, or blowing off the lid. This is
the same thing that happens when you open a can of soda. You notice the
fizz that it makes. The carbon dioxide rushes out, making a woosh sound.
- Students will demonstrate the ability to work scientifically and
accurately in the lab.
- Students will make a hypothesis as to how and why the different
- Students should analyze error in the technique that may have
Forward to John's lesson on Optical
BACK to Lesson #1.
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