My BEST Science Activity


Title:  3,2,1,  LIFT OFF

Teacher:J. Dodson

Grade Level:3

Objective:  The learner will demonstrate an understanding of the properties of lift and thrust, through the means of a chemical reaction.



The activity that my 3rd graders get most excited about is a rocket launching activity that demonstrates both the principles of lift and thrust, while at the same time showing the a chemical reaction between vinegar and baking soda.

Activity:       Using either a homemade rocket (1 liter bottle with a thin cylinder with a stopper in the bottom)  or a store-bought kit: You must first fill the rocket (bottle) with 1 cup or so of vinegar.  Then, separately fill the cylindrical tube that fits inside the bottle with 3 to 4 tbsps. of baking soda.


Being careful not to mix the baking soda with the vinegar, insert the tube into bottle and tighten the stopper so as to keep the tube in place until the pressure builds to the right amount. 


After the tube has been carefully inserted, and you have made sure the kids are standing back about 25’, shake the rocket upside-down so as to thoroughly mix the two chemicals.  Quickly set the rocket up on the “launch pad” and run back to the children.


If all goes well, the pressure inside the rocket will lift it high into the air (sometimes 50’ to 100’ depending) demonstrating to the class the properties of lift and trust. 


This activity is a lot of fun!  You get a lot of “Wows!”.  This activity can also be adapted for in-class use.  Take a bottle and putting in baking soda and vinegar, quickly place a balloon over the top of bottle.