STEAM Saturday – Bottle Rockets! (8/19/2023)

Bottle Rockets Summer STEM Challenge

Summer is winding down, so let’s send it off with a blast! Get your incoming student excited for learning with an engineering and chemistry lesson they won’t soon forget when you work together to make Bottle Rockets!!

Here’s what you’ll need to create your rockin’ rockets:

  • An empty, clean 2 liter soda bottle
  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar
  • Paper towels
  • A cork (something like the foam from a pool noodle will work as a substitute)
  • Materials to make your launch pad
  • A big, open space

Bottle Rockets Summer STEM ChallengeThe first thing that you need to do is build your launch pad. Challenge your child to decide the best materials to use and how to construct the launch pad so it can hold a two-liter soda bottle upside down without the bottle tipping over. Building materials can include Legos, craft sticks, tinker toys, or anything else your child can find around the house. This is a great exercise to help hone their engineering skills and creativity!

*Note – the launchpad may not survive the rocket launch, and that’s ok. That just means there’s another opportunity to start over and try out some new building ideas!

Before launching the rocket, your child can take the opportunity to add some artistic flare and decorate their rocket. This is totally optional, but can be lots of fun!

Now it’s time to fuel up our rocket! Pour 1-2 cups of vinegar into the bottle. Then, take a paper towels and cut it down to a square that is approximately four inches on each side. Next, place a heaping tablespoon of baking soda onto the center of the paper towel square and fold the square so that the baking soda is wrapped inside and it will fit inside the mouth of the soda bottle. Now, insert your cork into the mouth of the bottle and make sure it is tightly secured.

Quickly flip the bottle over, place it in your launchpad, and move away as fast as you can (as always, safety first!). When the baking soda comes in contact with the vinegar, it will cause a chemical reaction that will send your rocket soaring!

It is important to note that you should rinse everything down thoroughly after completing this experiment. Vinegar is an acid, and if it is left on your lawn, Legos, etc. for a long period of time, it could cause damage. Rinsing will dilute the vinegar and protect your belongings (and your grass!).

Find the full experiment and a wonderful explanation of the science behind it from Steam Powered Family HERE!

As always, get as creative as you want, and above all, have lots of fun learning together!

We’ll see you right back here next Saturday for another STEAM Saturday activity!  Scroll through the rest of our website to learn how Critchlow Adkins is Building Brighter Futures for the children and families we serve!

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