Pop Rockets

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In this activity, learners make film canister rocket ships. A fin pattern is glued onto the outside of the canister, and fuel (water and half an antacid tablet) is mixed inside the canister. When the water and tablet mix, the acid and base in the tablet react to produce carbon dioxide, and the gas accumulates in the closed container until pressure increases enough to push the "rocket" off of the canister cap and into the air. This activity is messy and should probably be done outside (or at least on floors without carpeting).

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per student

Age Range:
Ages 4 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Model

English, Spanish

Materials List (per student)

  • File folder or card stock
  • Blunt-end scissors
  • Glue
  • Empty film canister
  • Double-sided tape
  • Half of an effervescent antacid tablet
  • Water
  • Stopwatch


  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
      • Chemical Reactions
      • Acids and Bases
    • States of Matter
      • Gases
      • Changes of Phase

Informal Categories

  • Model Building


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • be mobile
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Foreign language versions of this resource:

Access Rights:

  • Free access