Let’s Do Rockets


Let’s Do Rockets

3/25/2002

 

Awhile back, I went to the Tech Museum in San Jose. One of the displays that I found particularly interesting was one where they made little test tube rockets with water and Alka Seltzer. You fill the test tube about a third of the way, add a small piece of Alka Seltzer, put the stopper in, and turn the test tube over. In just a few seconds, the pressure within the test tube builds and the test tube shoots up into the air. Elegantly simple and quite thrilling, actually.

A few days ago, I bought some test tubes and some Alka Seltzer, and decided to show my kids. I put some towels down on their little table and we all sat on the little colored chairs. I broke the two Alka Seltzer tablets that came in one package into four or five pieces each. Half to my son, Zach, and half to my daughter Sarah.

It took me awhile to get the right amount of water and Alka Seltzer. Sometimes I’d use too little Alka Seltzer and get a small “pfft” and an inch or two rise. Sometimes I’d use too much and the stopper would blow off before I was able to set things up for a launch. But sometimes I’d get it just right, getting a nice loud “pop” and a foot or two of vertical flight. The kids absolutely loved it.

Every day since then, when I arrive home from work, one of the first things I hear is, “Daddy, daddy… let’s do rockets!” I’ve gone through two boxes of Alka Seltzer already…

Each time we do rockets, we share lots of “oohs” and “ahhs” and lots of laughs. I’m happy that my kids find this fun and exciting, and that we’re spending some nice quality time together.

Pretty soon, I’ll have to go out and buy the raw materials for making a volcano or a tornado or something. Maybe I should buy extra homeowner’s insurance before getting too adventurous here…

There’s something so magical about watching the spark and wonderment in the eyes of your children. Nurturing their sense of adventure and fun is one of the most important – and fun – parts of my role as their Father, a role I cherish.

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