Thursday, September 5, 2013

Spooky Ghost Launch - BOOOOOOOOm!

Last May, my boys and I made a spouting blue whale in our backyard. It turned out really cool! Mixing baking soda and vinegar was the secret to our success.  Since then, my boys have asked, on many occasions, to do the activity again.

This time we challenged ourselves to come up with a ghost-themed baking soda and vinegar experiment. We came up with the idea of a ghost blasting out of a grave!

Materials needed:
1. Cardboard
2. Cardboard box
3. Paint and paintbrushes
4. Plastic water bottle
5. White duct tape
6. White streamers or toilet paper
7. Black Sharpie Marker
8. Baking soda
9. Vinegar
10. Plastic Wrap
11. Cork that will fit tightly in the opening of your water bottle.

My son painted a headstone we made out of cardboard.
We added R.I.P.
Next, we taped a cardboard box to the back of the headstone with a hole cut in the top of the box. This hole was big enough to stand up the drinking end of a water bottle, but not too big that the bottle would fall through the hole.
It was time to design our ghost. We wrapped a plastic water bottle with white duct tape.  Then, we taped on some white streamers and added a ghost face with a black Sharpie marker.
I poured vinegar into the bottle. I never measured, but it was probably about a 1/4 cup.
I tore a piece of plastic wrap and laid it flat on the ground.  Then, I poured a pile of baking soda on it. Once again, I didn't measure.  It was probably 2-3 Tbsps.
Then, I gathered the plastic wrap around the baking soda and then pushed it into the bottle. The purpose of the plastic wrap is to keep the baking soda from touching the vinegar until you shake it up. So, don't wrap it too tight, but don't make it too loose.

Once, the baking soda and vinegar were inside the bottle I asked my boys to stand back. Then, I placed the cork in the bottle, shook it and quickly placed the bottle in the hole in the back of the headstone. (You will place the bottle upside-down in the hole. The cork will be inside the box.)
We waited until the pressure built up from the chemical reaction between the baking soda and vinegar. Then, BOOOOOOOm! Our ghost blasted out of the grave!

I can't stress enough the importance of being safe with this activity.  Make sure children are far away from the headstone.  Keep your bottle facing straight up when it is placed in the hole so that it launches straight up in the air.  Consider using safety goggles and gloves.

Happy Ghost Launching and Happy Halloween! Enjoy!
Here is a video of our launch:

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