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The Effervescent Launcher Lab Activity

In this lab activity, students use the scientific method to explore the process of discovery.

  • Purpose for Students: Exploring the Framework Principles of Matter
  • Students Practice Proper Record Keeping and Running Controlled Experiments
  • Estimated Lab Time: 45 Minutes
  • Assessments and Vocabulary Words Target Common Core Standards
Students use effervescent tablets and water to blast the cap of a canister out of the launcher using generated CO2 gas. They measure and record the launch distance, change variables, form a hypothesis, and repeat the experiment several times. Each subsequent experiment adds another variable and builds on knowledge gained from the experiment before. During this activity, students explore the framework principles of matter and its interactions (PS1), Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions (PS2), and Energy (PS3).

This kit aligns with all published National Standards. Pre and Post-laboratory assessments and vocabulary words target specific Science and Engineering Practices and Common Core standards. The teacher guide also contains specific “Did You Know” concepts that link the real world with the scientific standards explored. This activity can be performed once with the materials provided and can be completed in one 45-minute class period.

Ordering information: This kit includes one package of launcher PVC parts: four ½” elbows; one 1/2 x 2” piece; one 1/2 x 3” piece; one 1/2 x 6” piece; one 1/2 x 8½” piece; and one 1/2 x 13“ piece with a thumb screw, eight packages of 2 Alka-Seltzer tablets, 1 syringe, 30 cc, a teacher’s guide, and a student's guide. White and translucent 35 mm film canisters with caps that fit inside the canister are required (one of each per lab group) but not included. The cap of the canister becomes the rocket. You can obtain clear canisters with caps from film-processing locations, usually free of charge. You may need additional caps. A tape measure, a container of room-temperature water, a container to dump the extra seltzer water in after each trial, a container to rinse the film canister after each trial, paper towels, a stop watch, an extra supply of Alka-Seltzer tablets, a scale or balance, a protractor to measure angles on launcher, and masking tape are also required but not included.



Item # Description Unit Availability Price Quantity
470213-228 The Effervescent Launcher Lab Activity
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