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3-2-1 POP!

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3-2-1 POP!

In this physics activity, learners build their own rockets out of film canisters and construction paper. Learners discover how a chemical reaction (from a mix of water and Alka-Seltzer) creates gas pressure to propel the craft. The activity explores the three states of matter and Newton’s Laws of Motion.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per student

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity


Materials List (per student)

  • heavy construction paper
  • plastic 35 mm film canister
  • cellophane tape
  • scissors
  • effervescing antacid tablet (like Alka-Seltzer)
  • paper towels
  • eye protection
  • access to water


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Astronomy
      • Probes, Satellites and Spacecraft
  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Aerospace Engineering
  • Physical Sciences
    • Energy
      • Energy and Power
    • Chemistry
      • Chemical Reactions
    • Motion and Forces
      • Newton's Laws
    • States of Matter
      • Solids
      • Liquids
      • Gases
      • Changes of Phase
  • The Nature of Technology
    • The Design Process
      • Invention and Innovation
      • Problem Solving


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Uses STEM to solve real-world problems
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Includes alignment to state and/or national standards

Access Rights:

  • Free access



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