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Whoosh bottle – applying newton’s laws to rockets | Teach with space P01

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ESA / Education / Teachers' Corner

In this activity, alcohol and air are mixed in a large plastic water bottle before being ignited, to simulate the physics principles of chemical rocket engines. The students will observe a rapid reaction accompanied by a dramatic “whoosh” sound and flames. They will discuss the similarities and differences between the laboratory reaction and the reaction that occurs in real rocket engines. Students will finish the activity by mathematically applying Newton’s laws of motion to what they have seen. The activity can either be run as a teacher demonstration or a student activity, for which there are separate protocols.

Laboratory science is related to real-life science, and students will find out about some different types of ESA rockets, as well as how these work.

Download the teacher guide and pupil activities documents separately.

Format: Teacher’s guide and student activities
Age range: 14 – 17 years old
Subjects: Chemistry, Physics
Whoosh bottle - classroom demonstration video, VP01
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