Build your very own rocket using paper and fizzing tablets!
- A4 Paper or thin card
- An old 35mm film cannister – the film canister MUST be one with a cap that fits INSIDE the rim instead of over the outside of the rim.
- Effervescing (fizzing!) antacid tablet – the kind that you would use to settle an upset stomach
- Paper Towels
- Something to protect your eyes – like goggles or old sun glasses maybe
Now before we go any further I want you to watch this quick video, as it will tell you how to make your rocket go really high!
So remember – just like with real rockets, the less your rocket weighs and the less air resistance (drag) it has, the higher it will go!
Ok, now lets learn how to build your actual rocket and fire it up!
You must first decide how to cut your paper. You may cut it the short way or the long way to make the body of the rocket. There is no one right way to make a paper rocket. Try a long, skinny rocket or a short, fat rocket. Try a sharp nosecone or a blunt nosecone. Try it with fins or without fins. Experiment!
Here’s just one idea for how you might cut your whole rocket from one piece of paper.
1. Cut out all the pieces for your rocket.
2. Wrap and tape a tube of paper around the film canister.
**IMPORTANT! Remember to place the lid end of the canister downwards.**
3. Tape fins to your rocket body, if you want.
4. Roll the circle (with a wedge cut out) into a cone and tape it to the rocket’s top for the rocket’s nose cone.
1. Put on your eye protection.
2. Turn the rocket upside down and remove the canister’s lid.
3. Fill the canister one-third full of water.
Now work quickly on the next steps!
1. Drop one-half of an effervescing antacid tablet into the canister.
2. Snap the lid on tight.
3. Stand your rocket on a launch platform, such as your sidewalk or driveway.
When the fizzy tablet is placed in the water, many little bubbles of gas escape. The bubbles go up, instead of down, because they weigh less than water. When the bubbles get to the surface of the water, they break open. All that gas that has escaped from the bubbles pushes on the sides of the canister.
Now when you blow up a balloon, the air makes the balloon stretch bigger and bigger. But the little film canister doesn’t stretch and all this gas has to go somewhere!
Eventually, something has to give! So the canister pops its top (which is really its bottom, since it’s upside down). All the water and gas rush down and out, pushing the canister up and up, along with the rocket attached to it.
Real rockets work in kind of the same way, but instead of using tablets that fizz in water, they use rocket fuel.