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Let's Make A Rocket!
Let's Make A Rocket!

Let's build a Popsicle Stick Film Canister
Rocket (perfect for Small Hands)!

The advantage of the Film Canister Rocket for Small Hands
shown on the next page is that when you put the cap plug on you
can brace the bottom of the film canister. 
Before you have your students build their rockets I suggest you give a
 demonstration of the action-reaction principle that makes a rocket work. For
 this I suggest you have one of those rubber band or air-pressure launched foam
 rockets, a balloon and a film canister with 1/2 tablet of
seltzer and water ready to use.

Design: WebWeavers

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Show your students the foam rocket, ask them if it looks like a rocket, they will say yes, then launch it, and say it looks like a rocket, it acts like a rocket but its not a rocket because rockets have their fuel inside of them and shoot it out the back and then they move forward in an equal and opposite reaction. Blow up the balloon and ask them to tell you what is going to happen when you let it go. They will laugh and giggle and tell you. Tell them that the stretched rubber in the balloon made the pressure that pushed the air out, and that the weight of the rubber in the balloon times the speed that it moved was equal and opposite to the weight of the air and the speed that it blew out of the balloon. Now tell them you are going to show them another way to release energy and make a rocket move using chemicals. Show them the film canister, then put 1/2 tablet of seltzer in it and fill it up with water until it is about 1/3rd full. The tablet will be fizzing right away. Donít worry, you have a few seconds. Put the plug cap on and lay the film canister on the floor or table top with the plug cap end down and tell them the only problem with this rocket is that it is hard to know exactly when it is going to launch. Soon after you finish saying this, it will blast off which will surprise everyone, including you, and cause lots of laughing. The empty canister will likely go about 10 or 12 feet into the air. The film canister rockets you make from the design on the next page wonít go that high because they will have more weight in popsicle sticks, paper and tape on them.


Seltzer tablets contain baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and dehydrated citric acid.
When you add water the citric acid combines with the baking soda to produce carbon
dioxide gas and salt. You can put a tablet and water into a small plastic pop bottle and
put a balloon over the top of it and see the tablet bubble and the balloon fill with gas.
 I suggest you lay a 9í X 12í plastic painters sheet on the floor and launch from
the center of it. I suggest you have each student come forward and you take

 their completed rocket from them, you put the tablet and water in and
set it down for launch and lead everyone in counting down the rocket. They love this. Have some paper towels handy to mop up the water and salt that splatters from each launch. Nothing involved here is hazardous.

Click Here for Detailed Assembly Instructions

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1569 La Rue Lane,  Fairbanks, AK 99709
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