Education Through Entertainment

Build a Rocket | Fun Science Project

Posted on Tue, Jun 13, 2017

Here's a super fun project you can make this weekend!  Handy Dan the Junkyard Man and his sidekick Junkbot will show you how you can turn some common household items into an awesome rocket.  Watch this video to learn how to blast off into the atmosphere in no time!

Watch this video to learn how to make your very own rocket with Handy Dan and Junkbot!

Step 1: Gather your supplies

You need just a few common items to make your rocket, many of which you probably already have:

  • 2-liter plastic soda bottle
  • Baking soda
  • 4 un-sharpened pencils
  • Duct tape
  • A cork (wide enough to fit in the mouth of the 2-liter soda bottle)
  • Paper towel
  • A funnel
  • Scissors
  • Vinegar

Step 2: Add legs to the rocket body

The first thing to do once you have your ingredients ready is add "legs" to the soda bottle.  The bottle will act as the body tube of the rocket and the pencils as its launch supports.

Build your own rocket - add the legs  |  Handy Dan the Junkyard Man

Cut 4 pieces of duct tape, each approximately 2" long, and stick them around the soda bottle, eraser-side facing the mouth of the bottle.  Space the pencils evenly around the bottle.

Build your own rocket - secure the legs  |  Handy Dan the Junkyard Man

This will serve as the launching structure of the rocket, so make sure your bottle stands straight up and down.  Make sure all the erasers are touching the ground.  If it's crooked, it will launch on angle!

Build your own rocket - secure using tape  |  Handy Dan the Junkyard Man

Once you have the pencils spaced and adjusted so the bottle is straight and stable, secure them in place with a long piece of duct tape wrapped around the entire bottle.  Use your sharp scissors to cut the tape.

Step 3: Prepare the rocket fuel

We're now going to create the propulsion for the rocket.  These are the chemicals that, when they react, will give us the explosive power we need to get our rocket off the ground!

Build your own rocket - pour baking soda |  Handy Dan the Junkyard Man

First, tear off a piece of paper towel.  Using your scissors, cut it into a square, approximately 4" x 4".  Then, pour some baking soda into the middle of it.  A small pile will do.  This may take some experimentation to get the right amount, but that's half the fun!

Build your own rocket - fold up your fuel packet  |  Handy Dan the Junkyard Man

Now, fold the paper towel into a little packet.  Fold the top and bottom sides in, then the left and right sides, like a little envelope.  Then, using a very small piece of duct tape, secure the packet closed.

Now to add the liquid part of our fuel!  Turn the rocket upside-down so the bottle opening it pointing upwards.  Using the funnel, fill the bottle about half-way with vinegar.

Step 4: Blast off!

NOTE:  Always do this experiment outside! The rocket will fly high into the air and create a big mess.  Never do this indoors!

Build your own rocket - position the fuel packet  |  Handy Dan the Junkyard Man

Wedge the packet of baking soda into the mouth of the bottle.  Don't push it all the way through...yet.  Get your cork ready, becasue when you push the packet into the vinegar, the countdown will begin!

Build your own rocket - turn the rocket upside down  |  Handy Dan the Junkyard Man

Once you're absolutely ready for launch, push the baking soda packet into the bottle and quickly stuff the cork in the bottle so its nice and tight.  Flip the bottle upside down...and wait.

It can take up to 30 seconds for the vinegar to soak through the packet completely and for the chemical reaction to begin, but once it does....

Build your own rocket - blast off!  Handy Dan the Junkyard Man

Blast off!!

Now that you've built your very own rocket, experiment with it!  Try different amounts of baking soda and vinegar to get the perfect ratio for your jet fuel and see how high you can get it to go!

It's so much fun to build your own rocket!  Handy Dan the Junkyard Man

Check back again for even more do-it-yourself projects from Handy Dan the Junkyard Man and Mobile Ed Productions!

If you like DIY experiments like these, you should see the kinds of spectacular demonstrations we bring to schools with our live school assembly presentations.  Take a look at STEAM MuseumThe Magic of Science, Physics is Fun, Forces and Motion and Crime Scene Science, each full of interactive demonstrations that kids love.

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Topics: science fair projects, science enrichment, Teaching Science, Hands On Science, making science exciting, DIY, science experiments, Handy Dan the Junkyard Man, STEAM Activity, STEM Activity