Watch the video: Build a rocket out of old film canisters
Whether you're considering a second career as a home tutor, or you've lost count of the days since lockdown began and are dreading yet another day of home schooling your kids, this fun kid science idea is a great project to try out at home – and you've probably got all the items you need already!
Our friends at Space.com put together this (adorable!) video showing how you can create your very own rocket at home using just an old film canister (opens in new tab), some paper, an Alka-Seltzer tablet and a teaspoon of water.
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The first thing you'll need to do is ensure that your film canister 'rocket' has well designed aerodynamics to help it cut through the air in style. Do do this, cut out a paper cone to sit on top of the canister and some paper fins to go on the sides. The cone for the top can be created by cutting out a circle and then using the scissors to snip halfway into the middle. You and your trusty partner can then overlap the two sides to create a cone shape and secure it with sticky tape.
When cutting out your fins, remember that part of it will be folded over and stuck to the canister with sticky tape, so make sure you leave enough room to do that.
Once you've constructed your rocket, the next thing you'll need to do is prepare the propellant to help it soar majestically through the air. However, before you go any further make sure all participants have covered their eyes with safety goggles (opens in new tab). Once you're all appropriately protected, pour a teaspoon of water into the film canister. Then, take about half of an antacid tablet and pop it into the canister.
Quickly seal the canister and set it on the table – and then simply wait for the show to begin! If the experiment has been carried out correctly, the canister should launch into the air due to the pressure inside from the antacid tablet popping the cap off.
One of the most important things to ensure that your film canister rocket experiment works is to ensure your film canister is watertight. If the water is leaking out of the canister then the pressure won't build enough to launch it into the air. Our friends at Space.com found that Fujifilm canisters worked perfectly for this experiment.