Vitamin C Rockets

Create and launch your own rocket and challenge your friends to see whose can go the highest!

 

Equipment

  • Film canisters with lids (1 per child)
  • Jug with water
  • Plastic tray
  • Effervescent Vitamin C tablets (1 per child)

 

Method

(This activity should be done outside, depending on the
height of the ceiling of the room that you are in. Note also
that there may be asbestos or other issues such as
projectors or lights with the ceiling that may prevent
launch indoors).

 

  1. Place a tray on the floor. This will be the launch area and the children need to stay an appropriate distance from this once the rockets have been placed there
  2. Give each child a canister and matching lid.
  3. Give each child (or pair) half of an effervescent vitamin C tablet.
  4. Ask each child (or pair), one at a time, to put their half-tablet inside their canister
  5. Half-fill each canister with water from a jug and cap the canister. Quickly place it on the launch pad and step back. The canisters should be placed lid-down (which will probably give a higher launch) or lid-up. (With the lid down, it’s easiest to tell if the canister is leaking)
  6. Wait for the rocket to launch!

 

The science

The Vitamin C tablets are effervescent. They dissolve in water and produce a gas (carbon dioxide), which is what causes the fizzing. When the lid is on the canister, the gas has no escape route. The pressure inside the canister builds up until the top part is forced off, upwards, at high speed.

 

Health and Safety

Please ensure that the children stand back from the canisters at a safe distance to prevent being hit.

Children who also have sensitive skin are advised to wear gloves.