Vinegar and Baking Soda Bottle Rockets
Thrust: a force or push. When a system pushes mass in one direction, there is a thrust just as large in the opposite direction.
Rocket: devices that produce the force, or push, needed to move an object forward.
Chemical reaction: the combination of two reactants to form an entirely new product (ie baking soda and vinegar together release carbon dioxide and create sodium acetate)
Target Audience Minimum Age
Target Audience Maximum Age
Duration in Minutes
By participating in this program, children will create a rocket that uses a chemical reaction to create thrust, demonstrating Newton's second and third laws.
2 liter soda bottle- free
1 cork- free
1/2 sheet paper towel- on hand
64 oz vinegar-$3.18
About 1 ounce baking soda- $0.06
1 yard duct tape- $0.10
8 ten inch skewers- $0.27 (can be substituted for pencils)
Materials/Costs in $
Prep Time in Minutes
Optional: Creating the baking soda "envelopes"
Students should be able to explain why their rocket takes off.
Baking Soda Envelopes
Cut a small sheet of paper towel in half.
Pour about 1 ounce of baking soda into the center.
Fold the paper towel so it is small enough to easily slide into the plastic soda bottle.
Checking Your Cork
Check that your cork fits snuggly enough inside the mouth of your bottle to hold water when turned upside down, but not so tightly that the baking soda and vinegar can't blow it out. Try testing with water and squeezing the bottle before proceeding.
Preparing the Rocket
Tape two skewers together to make a leg. Repeat 3 more times.
With the mouth of the bottle pointing down, attaching the legs to the bottle using duct tape. The mouth of the bottle should be suspended a few inches above the ground.
Launching the Rocket
Fill the bottle at least half way full with vinegar.
Quickly insert the baking soda envelope, insert the cork, flip the rocket over, and stand the rocket on its legs on a level surface.
Quickly back away several feet. Pressure from the chemical reaction should build up, push the cork out of the bottom, and thrust the rocket upwards.
You can repeat this experiment with varying amounts of vinegar and baking soda and measure the different outcomes.