Make Your Own Self-Launching Rocket Ship!

Wanna make something that goes SQUISH! BANG! SPLAT! all in one go?

Here’s how to make a squish-filled, bang-making, splat-forming rocket ship.

All rocket launches need a fair-weather day and we’ll be using an adapted oobleck mixture and some fizzy tablets. So, like real rockets, this experiment is best done on a sunny day outside. Remember: outside only!

A rocket is launched by burning fuel to push out exhaust to make thrust, which allows the rocket to escape Earth’s gravitational pull.

We’ll be using the fizzy tablet to propel our rocket upwards. This will happen when the tablet’s baking soda meets the water in the oobleck, making carbon dioxide gas. When the reaction is performed in your rocket (a cylindrical air-tight container), the gas fills up the container and can make it burst open with a bang with enough force to launch your rocket into the air!

Activity Instructions:

Prep Time: 5-10 minutes

Skill Level: Easy

You Will Need:

  • Corn-starch
  • Food colouring of your choice
  • Water
  • Measuring equipment
  • A spoon
  • Scissors
  • Alka Seltzer, Berocca, or a similar fizzy tablet
  • A cylindrical container with an easy seal lid- we suggest an M&M tube, or a film canister
  • A bucket of water to clean up afterwards!

Note: If you’re using an M&M tube, you’ll need to cut the plastic connecting the lid and container

Step 1: Mix equal parts corn-starch and water together in an easy to pour jug.

We used 1 cup of water and 1 cup of corn-starch.

You’ll need to continually stir the mixture, so it doesn’t settle and become squishy oobleck!

Step 2: Pour the mixture into your container until it is ½ full.

Step 3: Add a drop of food colouring to your container, pop on the lid and shake to mix the colour.

Step 4: Find a rocket launching pad- for the best, most colourful exhaust results, use a safe area that is concreted.

Take a whole fizzy tablet, drop it into the container, and then very quickly pop on the lid and place it lid-side down on the ground.

Step 5: Step back and watch your rocket blast off with a bang! The oobleck will splat out just like the exhaust of a rocket.

Make sure you watch for rockets falling back down to Earth to avoid getting hit!

If you’ve got any mixture left after launching a few rockets (scientific method means all experiments should be tested more than once!) the oobleck is an awesome example of a squishy substance known as a non-newtonian fluid. That is- a liquid until a force (you) acts upon it. We also think it’s a really cool chalk-paint recipe.

Don’t worry too much about the clean-up. Corn-starch and baking soda are natural and therefore biodegradable. It will either wash away or when the oobleck dries and it forms chalk, it can be brushed away instead.

Please make sure you recycle your rocket container.

How could you improve the experiment? Make a splash-down target to aim for? Decorate your rocket before launch? Have fun experimenting!