Chem Rocket!

Science at Home

Arizona Science Center and #SariOnScience are here to be your resource for bringing science to life at home. From crafts to experiments, we’re here to be your resource for fun science activities that spark curiosity and motivate learning! Materials are easy to find, most activities take an hour or less, and the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) learning is limitless.

Target grade level(s): 3rd - 6th

Chemical Reaction Rocket Activity


Explore an acid and base chemical reaction through this exciting science experiment. The two chemicals being used are sodium bicarbonate( baking soda) which is a base and vinegar which is an acid. When they combine they create a gas called carbon dioxide which is an exothermic reaction. The gas created will be used as energy to help create force to launch the rocket in the air. This is Newton's 3rd law for every action there is a reaction. Please remember this experiment needs to be done outside.

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One (1) water bottle
Three (3) Unsharpened pencils
One (1) tablespoon of baking soda
One (1) cup of vinegar
One (1) 1\2 sheet of paper towel
One(1) roll of heavy duty tape
One(1) Cork/bottle stopper
One(1) Funnel

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1. Tape the pencils onto the halfway point of the bottle pointing towards the mouth of the bottle. The pencils should be equal distance so the bottle can balance.
2. Using the funnel pour the vinegar into the bottle.
3. Take your paper towel and put the baking powder on it. Fold it up like a burrito. Then go outside.
4. Doing so quickly. Push the paper towel-wrapped baking soda into the bottle.
5. Twist the cork/bottle stopper into place in the mouth of the bottle.
6. Give the rocket a quick, hard shake and Set the rocket upright on the pencils.
7. Stand back and observe. Time the rocket from launching to landing.

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Guiding Questions

1. What did the pencils do for the rocket?
2. What did you observe when combining the baking soda and vinegar?
3. If you change the amount of baking soda what happens to the reaction?
4. What would happen if you used 1 cup of water and 4 Alka Seltzer?