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Will it fizzle, pop, dance, fly or bounce!


Base 1, Bottle Rockets

- Bottle rocket launcher
- 2 liter pop bottles
- Water Supply
- Open Space
- Glow Sticks (optional requires extra caution, also requires a hack saw, funnel and filter paper)
- Bike pump

Base 2, Smoke Bombs

- Potassium Nitrate
- Sugar
- Pan
- Stove
- Foil Tray
- Long Nose Lighter
- Open Space

Base 3, Dancing Goo

- Corn Flour
- Water
- Speaker Cone
- Amp
- Tone Generator (IPad with tone app)
- Cling film
- Food Colouring

Base 4, Bouncy Ball

- Borax
- PVA Glue
- Corn Flour
- Water
- Bowl


Base 1, Bottle Rockets

Setup the bottle rocket launcher in a clear open space outside, use patrol tent pegs to secure to the ground if need be.
Snap a large glow stick bending through out the whole length and shaking vigorously, cut the end off the glow stick and use a funnel with a filter in to tip the contents into an empty pop bottle. Top the bottle up with water until its 1/3 full. Carefully place the bottle on the launcher, ensure the retainer is fully latched. Stand back and pump up the pressure as much as possible. Then pull the release string launching the rocket. Best results achieved at night!

Base 2, Smoke Bombs

Pour about 3 parts potassium nitrate to 2 parts sugar into the skillet (5:3 ratio is also good). Measurements don't need to be exact, but you want more KNO3 than sugar. For example, you can use 1-1/2 cups KNO3 and 1 cup sugar. If you use equal amounts of KNO3 and sugar, your smoke bomb will be harder to light and will burn more slowly. As you approach the 5:3 KNO3:sugar ratio, you get a smoke bomb that burns more quickly.

Apply low heat to the pan using a stove. Stir the mixture with a spoon using long strokes. If you see the grains of sugar starting to melt along the edges where you are stirring, remove the pan from the heat and reduce the temperature before continuing.

Basically you are carmelizing sugar. The mixture will melt and become a caramel or chocolate color. Continue heating/stirring until the ingredients are liquefied. Remove from heat.

Pour the liquid onto a piece of foil. You can pour a smaller amount onto a separate piece, to test the batch. You can pour the smoke bomb into any shape, onto an object, or into a mold. The shape and size will affect the burning pattern.

If you aren't going to clean your skillet immediately, pour hot water into the pan to dissolve the sugar (or else it will be harder to clean). Clean up any residue you may have spilled out of the pan, unless you want mini-smoke bombs on your stovetop.

Allow the smoke bomb to cool, then you can peel it off the foil.

The solid smoke bomb material is flammable and can be lit directly. You can light your smoke bomb using a lighter, preferably one of the long-handled types used for barbeque grills. Only light your smoke bomb in a well-ventilated area (outside), on a surface that won't catch fire (foil tray). The smoke bomb will burn vigorously (more slowly with a higher percentage of sugar) with a purple flame.

Base 3, Dancing Goo

Connect up the IPad, Amp and Speaker cone. Use the tone generator to test the speaker cone, then lightly cover the speaker in cling film.
Mix up some Oobleck (2 parts corn flour, 1 part water as a rule of thumb) places some oobleck on the cling film, play with the tone generator app and some songs to see their effect. 20Hz should be a good frequency for some dancing. Add some drops of food coloring for effect

Base 4, Bouncy Ball

Label one cup 'Borax Solution' and the other cup 'Ball Mixture'.

Pour 2 tablespoons warm water and 1/2 teaspoon borax powder into the cup labeled 'Borax Solution'. Stir the mixture to dissolve the borax. Add food coloring, if desired.

Pour 1 tablespoon of glue into the cup labeled 'Ball Mixture'. Add 1/2 teaspoon of the borax solution you just made and 1 tablespoon of cornstarch. Do not stir. Allow the ingredients to interact on their own for 10-15 seconds and then stir them together to fully mix. Once the mixture becomes impossible to stir, take it out of the cup and start molding the ball with your hands.

The ball will start out sticky and messy, but will solidify as you knead it.

Once the ball is less sticky, go ahead and bounce it!

You can store your plastic ball in a sealed ziploc bag when you are finished playing with it.

If time permits try different quantities of chemicals to see the effect

Don't eat the materials used to make the ball or the ball itself. Wash your work area, utensils, and hands when you have completed this activity.


  • science, experiments

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