Making toy rockets at school or at home provides an unforgettable interactive learning experience for kids that will boost their excitement for space-related subjects. A variety of different models are available, but the ones that actually launch into the air are sure to impress.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- 8 1/2-by-11-inch paper
- Empty plastic 35mm film canister
- Baking soda
- Paper towels or newspaper
- Toilet tissue
- Safety goggles or glasses
Wrap a piece of 8 1/2-by-11-inch paper around the empty film canister to create a long tube. The lid of the film canister should be facing downward in the bottom end of the tube. Tape the paper tube closed so that it holds tightly wrapped around the film canister.
Cut a circle out of a piece of paper. Use a compass and protractor to trace the circle or trace a circular object onto the paper.
Find the centre of the circle cutout and draw a line from this halfway point to the outer edge of the paper. Cut this line and wrap the paper into a cone. Tape the edges closed.
Connect the nose cone to the paper tube, or the body of the rocket, with tape. You may also choose to add some paper fins to the bottom end of the rocket for stability.
Bring your rocket, toilet tissue, baking soda and vinegar to an outdoor location. If you are concerned about the launch being messy, set up a launch pad with newspapers or paper towels to absorb spillage.
Pour some baking soda onto two squares of toilet tissue. Wrap the edges of the toilet tissue around the baking soda to form a sealed bundle. Carefully pour some vinegar into the film canister. Experiment with the amounts of baking soda and vinegar you use to find out how much or how little works best. Place the baking soda bundle into the canister and quickly close the lid. Quickly place the rocket on the ground with the nose cone facing the sky and stand back. The rocket should launch into the air within a few seconds. If this does not occur, try quickly shaking up the baking soda/vinegar mixture before placing the rocket on the ground to launch.
Tips and warnings
- Use the kind of film canister with a lid that fits around the inside as opposed to the kind with a lid that fastens around the outside. Keep your rocket as lightweight as possible to increase the heights it can reach.
- While the rocket may be constructed indoors, it is meant to be launched outdoors. The chemical reaction from the baking soda and vinegar causes the lid of the canister to pop off, meaning the contents of the canister will inevitably spill out and the rocket will be propelled high off the ground. This makes it unsuitable for an indoor environment.
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