Vinegar and Baking Soda Bottle Rockets


Vinegar and Baking Soda Bottle Rockets


Explore thrust and chemical reactions using recycled materials and vinegar and baking soda.


Presentation Type



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

Event Type

In person, virtual, take home kit


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.

Life Skills

Career Fields

Tech Level

Consumable Costs

Per person

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 $


Vinegar- $3.18

Baking Soda- $0.99

Duct Tape- $5.93

10" Skewers- $3.99

2 liter recycled soda bottle

Paper towels

Recycled corks (must fit snuggly in the soda bottle)


Prep Time in Minutes

Prep Details

Optional: Creating the baking soda "envelopes"

Evaluation Method

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.