Did you know you can make a bottle rocket out of a few everyday items you’ve got in your kitchen?
Recently, we were invited to try our hands at creating our own bottle rocket by the team at Terrific Scientific, a brand new BBC online hub that is hoping to inspire kids (and parents) around the country to try their hand at home-made science experiments.
There are stacks of ideas on the Terrific Scientific Hub!
So, fancy yourself a rocket scientist? Here’s how we made our home-made bottle rocket – check out the video at the end of this post to see if we got it to fly (and – let’s keep things real – how many attempts it took us).
DIY Bottle Rocket
You will need:
- An empty plastic bottle and a cork that fits tightly into the top – we had to experiment a bit and open more than one bottle of Prosecco to find a cork to fit our cordial bottle, because I am nothing if not a devoted parent.
- White vinegar – enough to fill your bottle around a quarter full.
- Bicarbonate of soda – 1-2 dessert spoons full.
- Straws for legs
- Sticky tape
- One sheet of kitchen roll
- A spoon
- Turn the bottle upside down and use sticky tape to attach the straws to the side of your bottle so they pop up about an inch over the bottle top. These will then give your rocket four little ‘feet’ to stand on.
- Next, using the spoon, place one dessert spoon of bicarb (for a 500ml bottle) in the middle of a half sheet of kitchen roll. If you’re using a larger bottle, simply use 2 spoonfuls and a whole sheet of kitchen roll. Twist the ends to make a little ‘sweetie’ package with the powder inside. Don’t twist too hard unless you like coughing your way through a dust cloud. #TopTip. Set aside.
- Fill your bottle about a quarter full with vinegar. Screw on the top for now.
- Now it’s time to take everything outside. On some level ground, check that your rocket will stand up (we used a garden table because, frankly, I’m
4231, and I’m not speedy enough to the required movements involved on the ground)
- Persuade children, dogs and other vulnerable householders to stand at least five paces away from the rocket.
- Next, take the top of your rocket bottle, and slide the bicarb package into the bottle , then plug the top with your cork – quickly! Take it from someone whose wardrobe now has a definite aroma – the bottle will explode VERY quickly and you need to be out of the way.
- Turn the bottle over and place on the launch pad. Hopefully it will fly. Here’s our attempt:
Whether or not our rocket actually left the ground, Flea was excited to see the powerful reaction between the vinegar and bicarb. She understands that the two chemicals react together to make Carbon Dioxide, and this builds up and expands until the pressure pops the cork out of the bottle. See? It’s educational, AND cool.
Some little things to note if you’re going to try this out :
- Make sure you rinse the vinegar away afterwards, it’s not good for the plantlife.
- If vinegar gets on your clothes (yep) wash them right away
- If the rocket didn’t take off, it might be that your cork wasn’t a tight fit – try wrapping it in tape to make it more snug, and let the pressure build up.
- Try using a bit more vinegar and a bit more bicarb – or using fresh if yours have been sitting in the cupboard too long!