Materials List: Pop Rockets

Each student needs:

For the entire class to share

  • access to a sink, to obtain and dispose of tap water
  • tape or chalk, to mark off the launch area
  • safety glasses/goggles, enough pairs for the largest group and instructor
  • paper towels, for clean-up
  • (if launching inside) pitcher, from which to launch the rockets

Note: For this activity, a film canister with an internal-sealing lid must be used, not one with a lid that snaps over the outside of the rim. These are usually translucent white plastic canisters, not the black plastic ones. Sometimes these film canisters can be obtained for no cost from camera shops and film processing stores (such as grocery stores, Target, Wal-mart, Costco, etc.) where they recycle the canisters and donate them for educational use. You may have to make several trips to obtain enough canisters. Alternatively, purchase the film canisters ($16 for 30 canisters) at Or, instead of film canisters, use mini plastic food storage containers, as long as they have snap-on lids (not twist on), so they work just like the film canister lid; use containers that are small enough so that they are similar in size/volume as the film canisters (1.25-in x 2-in high; 30-mm diameter x 50-mm high). As another idea, use a cork in a bottle, building the rocket on the cork, although this increases the scale of the experiment a bit. The latter two options require some advance experimentation to verify/test/adjust the amount of fuel/antacid that works safely.