Film Canister Rocket – Friday Fun with Frederick and Fleming

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Our new segment Friday Fun with Frederick & Fleming, we will through the summer do different little science experiments that would be fun to do with your kids. The goal with all of these is to use things you could find around the house or pick up at almost any store for a very little amount of money.

In today’s segment, we made some film canister rockets. These are simple and fun to do.

Items Needed:

  • Film canisters with lids
  • Alka-Seltzer
  • Water


  1. Put on safety glasses to protect your eyes from the flying film canisters.
  2. Pour a quarter to a half inch of water in the bottom of the film canister.
  3. Drop an Alka-Seltzer into the water.
  4. Snap the cap onto the film canister.
  5. Quickly turn the film canister so the lid is on the bottom and step back!


The Alka-Seltzer is a combination of citric acid and sodium bicarbonate. When the tablet is added into the water, the moisture causes the citric acid to react with the sodium bicarbonate, a carbon dioxide gas is formed and released. When the film canister is capped, the pressure starts to build. Once the pressure is great enough, the force blows the film canister off of the top into the sky.

NOTE: Please do not try this with anything other than film canisters.  Too great a pressure in other objects could cause that object to explode and cause harm to yourself or others.


Try adjusting the amount of water that you put into each container.  Does more water cause it to go off faster or slower?  Does a longer time before popping cause it to go higher or lower?

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