Pop-Top Rockets

Celebrate the 4th of July with a pop and a bang! These mini rockets are so easy to make and so fun to set off, you’ll want to launch them again and again.

Parent supervision and eye protection are highly recommended for this project! Never point your pop-top rocket at yourself or anyone else. This project must be done outside.

  1. Ages: 12 - 16

  2. 30 minutes - 1 hour

  3. Super messy

  4. Grownup needed


Materials you'll need

Step-by-step tutorial

  • Step 1

    If your container has an attached lid, cut it off. This will help your rocket fly straighter.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 1

  • Step 2

    Decorate your rocket however you’d like! We added a nose cone, fins, and some shiny mylar flames.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 2

  • Step 3

    Fill your container one third of the way full with water. Then grab all of your materials and your safety glasses and head outside. You’re almost ready to launch!

    Photo reference of how to complete step 3

  • Warning

    Important: put your safety glasses on now! This step happens fast, so you need to be ready before you start. Make sure you’re working on a smooth outdoor surface, away from any obstructions.

  • Step 4

    Break off a small piece of the fizzy tablet and drop it into the water. Immediately snap the lid of your rocket container back on, then place it lid-side down on a smooth surface.

    Step back and watch it fly!

    Photo reference of how to complete step 4

  • Step 5

    You can launch your rocket again and again, so feel free to experiment! After our first launch, we were able to put the lid back on and get a second launch without adding more fizzy tablet. Or, when it runs out of fizz, just add more water and fizzy tablet and try again. Try using a larger or smaller piece of fizzy tablet and see what happens.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 5

  • Warning

    What’s going on?

    To see what’s going on here, try dropping a fizzy tablet into clear glass of water and watch what happens. You’ll see the tablet immediately create lots of tiny bubbles that rise up to the surface of the water. Those bubbles are carbon dioxide gas, created by a chemical reaction between two ingredients in the tablets. 

    When that reaction takes place inside your pop-top rocket, the carbon dioxide gas has nowhere to go. More and more builds up inside your rocket until… pop! Eventually the pressure from the gas becomes too great and the pop-top seal lets go, sending your rocket shooting up into the air.

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