Mini Rockets

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Hydrogen and Fuel Cells


Groups of students produce hydrogen and oxygen gas. Using pipette mini rockets, students investigate which mixture of the two gases makes the best rocket fuel.



Plan Time

One class period: 60 minutes initially and 30 minutes with already-fabricated sparkers, generators, and calibrated rockets.


Handouts included; 1.0 M Hydrochloric Acid (HCl), approximately 50 mL per H2 generator, 3% Hydrogen Peroxide (HO), approximately 50 mL per oxygen generator, mossy zinc, yeast water or 1.0 M Potassium Iodide (KI) solution, 10 mL graduated cylinder, tap water, piezoelectric sparking unit (one per group), tape measure. For the generator unit, you need (two per group): vial with pop-off lid, such as empty film canisters, nail, petri dish half, pipette bulb, calibrated (one per group), and hot glue gun and glue (or water-proof adhesive).


National Standards: 9-12

  • SEC-B: 3.b. Chemical reactions may release or consume energy. Some reactions, such as the burning of fossil fuels, release large amounts of energy by losing heat and by emitting light.
  • SEC-B: 3.d. A large number of important reactions involve the transfer of electrons or hydrogen ions. In other reactions, chemical bonds are broken by heat or light to form very reactive radicals with electrons ready to form new bonds. Radical reactions control many processes such as the presence of ozone and greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, burning and processing of fossil fuels, the formation of polymers, and explosions.

Florida Solar Energy Center

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