Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Science By Me Rocket Blast: Film Canister Rocket (Dollar Tree)

 

This is a pretty decent way to kill five minutes and three seconds of time.

Well we already took a look at Science By Me's Volcano experiment, now we turn our attention to the only other kit they offer: a film canister rocket.

Included in this $1 kit is an empty film canister, paper “fins” to make it look like a rocket ship, and some baking powder—and once again, it fails to mention the other items you'll need to get the experiment to work. In this case, you will need tape, and some “cola”, which once again is kind of vague and misleading. Does that mean it has to be an actual “cola”--which I would equate to be a dark soda—or will any soda work? I'm pretty sure, based on YouTube videos, that any soda will work, but just to be on the safe side (and because it was the only kind we had), we used name brand diet cola.

These instructions are a little better, and state to use 5ml of soda, add the included packet of baking soda, flip it upside down, put on the lid, and stand back! One quick note before I get to the results: in yet another annoying (though minor) issue, the rocket printed on the film canister is actually upside down from the way it will take off, which kind of gets confusing. So, when you put the fins on, remember that you will be flipping the container upside down before it takes off—in other words, in order to make it look more “accurate”, you'll want to put the fins on the top of the canister, as opposed to the bottom (although honestly, the fins do nothing at all except make it look more like a rocket ship, so even if you do it wrong, it won't affect the outcome whatsoever).

I have to say that, after the frustration of our little volcano experiment, this one worked as described, taking off and going probably twenty or so feet in the air before jettisoning back to Earth (it was dark and might not have been that high, but regardless, it was better than expected). It was pretty impressive, so we decided to do it again using our own baking powder...and got less than stellar results, as the canister just jumped about three feet in the air before falling back down in what felt like the non-event of the century.

Once again, the film canister can be reused over and over again, so we kept it to try again in the future. Unlike the volcano, however, we were pretty pleased with the “out of box” results of this one, easily making it our "favorite" of the two kits. It does seem pretty anti-climactic to take five minutes setting up for something that only lasts three seconds, but I guess that's more a gripe with many simple science experiments in general, and isn't really a specific fault of this one.

Overall: 6/10. Like the volcano kit we reviewed earlier, this set still doesn't mention what non-included ingredients you will need, which is kind of annoying: in this case, it's tape and cola, two things most people should have on hand (or have easy access to). Unlike the volcano kit, however, this one was more straightforward, with easy-to-follow instructions and it worked like a charm, blasting the film canister about twenty or so feet up in the air (maybe less...it was dark and kind of hard to see, but it was a pretty impressive blast) before crashing back down to Earth. It's something we never typically would have gotten, but made for a three-second bit of fun (after a five minute set up) on an otherwise boring night so hey, that's a win! The film canister is also reusable, although our encore (the thing jumped up two feet before falling down two feet from the launch spot) was much less exciting.

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