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TeachEngineering
Posted March 16, 2017
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Pop Rockets
https://www.teachengineering.org/activities/view/cub_rockets_lesson04_activity3

PostedSaturday, July 8, 2017 at 10:14 AM

Updated07/14/2017

Students design and build paper rockets around film canisters, which serve as engines. An antacid tablet and water are put into each canister, reacting to form carbon dioxide gas, and acting as the pop rocket's propellant. With the lid snapped on, the continuous creation of gas causes pressure to build up until the lid pops off, sending the rocket into the air. The pop rockets demonstrate Newton's third law of motion: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. An instructions handout, worksheets (English and Spanish) and quiz are provided.

Students design and build paper rockets around film canisters, which serve as engines. An antacid tablet and water are put into each canister, reacting to form carbon dioxide gas, and acting as the pop rocket's propellant. With the lid snapped on, the continuous creation of gas causes pressure to build up until the lid pops off, sending the rocket into the air. The pop rockets demonstrate Newton's third law of motion: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. An instructions handout, worksheets (English and Spanish) and quiz are provided.

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  • Posted Saturday, July 8, 2017 at 10:20 AM
    an excellent, and fun, introduction to Newton's third law of motion
    I have lead this activity several times on my own, and I have also used in my role as a CU Teach undergraduate mentor.

    Materials are easy to find and inexpensive. Students love building (and decorating if you have time) their "rockets". Launching is best done outdoors. It's good launch near a wall so you can mark and measure the heights the rockets reach.

    Our post investigation class discussions and my assessments have shown that this is a very effective and engaging learning activity.
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