In the FIFTY story “Alabama: It Is Rocket Science,” Pat McCauley, a novice reporter for The Huntsville Times, is finally entrusted with a real scoop: an ex-Nazi scientist who is now working for the U.S. government and wants to talk to the press. Pat is thrilled and makes arrangements to meet with the mysterious man, but he's not prepared for the scope of the conversation and what this means for the future of American rocket science.
There are few things more inspirational than the thought of rockets blasting into space. Brilliant minds working together to blast past what we all previously thought was possible. Working, not to build machines of war or destruction, but to expand knowledge and human capability. Working to get mankind to the moon and stars.
While this week's craft won't quite get you to the stars, it is a great science project to get your future astronaut on the path to space exploration. With a few basic parts from your recycling bin — and some vinegar and baking soda from your pantry — you, too, can be a rocket scientist.
This rocket works because, when you combine them, vinegar and baking soda create carbon dioxide. When enough gas fills the soda bottle, the pressure builds to blast the cork out of the bottle and send the rocket flying into the air.
And this rocket really flies! Ours flew higher than our house, in fact. As such, while kiddos can help with building the rocket stand — and they'll certainly enjoy the blast off — it's best to keep them back at a safe distance while an adult launches the rocket towards the stars...or at least into your neighborhood treetops.
Soda Bottle Rocket
- 1 liter soda bottle
- 3 pencils
- Duct tape
- A cork (one that fits in the neck of the soda bottle)
- Paper towels
- Baking soda
- Vinegar (if you want to launch the rocket several times, you'll need most of a bottle)
First, prepare your rocket. To do so, use the duct tape to secure the pencils onto the soda bottle with several inches of pencil extending down past the top of the bottle.
The pencils will be your rocket stand.
Next, prepare the baking soda packet. Put a few tablespoons of baking soda into the center of a paper towel and fold the towel around it to make a packet that will slip into the neck of the soda bottle. It's good to test to make sure that the baking soda packet will fit into the neck of the bottle before you add the vinegar.
Now, it's time to take your rocket outside. Bring the vinegar and cork with you.
Working on a flat surface, pour a few inches of vinegar into the bottle. Quickly stuff the baking soda packet inside, followed by the cork. You'll want to put the cork in firmly enough to keep the liquid from pouring out, but not any harder or your rocket won't launch properly.
Now, flip the rocket over so that it sits up on its pencil stand and step back. It will take 15-30 seconds, but eventually the baking soda and vinegar will foam and the pressure will build and...BLAST OFF!
If you liked this tutorial, here are others you might enjoy:
Not yet a subscriber? Try a free trial HERE.
About the Author
The Sparkle Kitchen Series is created by Meryl Carver-Allmond.
Meryl lives in a hundred year old house near the prairie with her sweet husband, two pre-schoolers, one puppy, one gecko, and about ten chickens. While she's been writing since she could pick up a pen, in recent years she's discovered the joy of photography, too. She feels lucky to be able to combine those skills, along with a third passion--showing people that cooking for themselves can be healthy and fun--in her weekly Sparkle Kitchen posts.
When Meryl isn't writing for Sparkle Kitchen, you can find her on her personal blog, My Bit of Earth, where she writes about chickens, babies, knitting, gardening, food, photography, and whatever else tickles her fancy on any given day.