Firecracker Fizzle

Our studies this week took us to Ancient China and the invention of gunpowder and firecrackers.  We discussed saltpeter and sulfer and mining techniques which were all very interesting.  But the kids wanted to see an explosion. 
So we made alka seltzer rockets.  This is part 2 of our chemical reaction series.  First we put a piece of alka seltzer in a flat dish and added a tiny bit of water so that they could see what happened.  Then we tried to make an explosion using film canisters.  As typical for me, we only got a fizzle rather than a rocket.  I have about 50% success rate with this experiment. The kids didn't seem to mind.
We came back to the table and talked about the reaction we had witnessed.  We talked about how the atoms recombine to make new molecules.  And then the kids made their own chemical reactions by building molecules and recombining them. 

 Our oldest student really took to the molecule part and she and I discussed why certain atoms bond with others and valency.
Other students put a creative spin on the molecules and created some neat structures.


  1. I have mixed results on things like that as well. It took me several tries to get the cork rocket to work.


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