Rockets that fly!

These rockets may not make it to the Moon, they are still fun to make...

CO2 powered rocket

H2O powered rocket

Carbon Dioxide Powered Rockets

  1. Place a quarter of an Quik-eze tablet or a teaspoon of Enos on the inside of the cap of a Fuji film canister.
  2. Fill the canister 1/3 full of water.
  3. Quickly snap the lid on and place the canister with the capside down in an optional rocket launcher made of a decorated toilet paper roll taped to a paper or plastic plate.

The carbon dioxide gas formed will cause the rocket to launch. You can vary how long it takes for the rocket to launch and how high it goes by varying the amount of water you add to the canister.

Now lets have some fun!


  • PREDICT: Ask your students "What will happen to the distance travelled by the rocket if I increase the amount of water added?"
  • OBSERVE: Try out various measured quantities of water and record the height reached.
  • EXPLAIN: What does this show us? (seniors might like to consider the physics behind projectile motion or the chemical reaction involved)


You can also experiment with what angle of rocket launcher sends your rocket the farthest distance.

An alternative "fuel" is to use Baking Soda and vinegar but the vinegar can pong!

Fuji film canisters are available free anywhere photo processing is done. Non-Fuji film canisters (eg, black with a grey lid) seal too tightly and will not work.

Water Powered Rockets

Leave some of the inner tube rubber attached to the valve as a flap on the cork to ensure a good seal when the bottle is pushed onto the cork.

You could use a needle valve used to inflate soccer balls inserted into the cork instead...

Pick a safe spot away from other buildings and people and pump air into the rocket...don't be surprised if you end up drenched in the process!


  1. Rocket propulsion systems - learn about the man who powered the American Space Program ... New Zealander Bill Pickering
  2. Can you find out about the rockets used by NASA and how thrust pushes the rockets upward?
  3. Find out why an airplane with wings can fly or glide, but rockets are not able to fly (they fall like stones when the rocket engines are turned off or fail).
  4. The interactive pages...arrange the planets of our solar system
  5. The interactive pages...uncover the hidden secrets of each planet

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