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Science Rocks!

Soda Bottle Boat


your results

Sent in by:
Steven of Fayetteville, AR

Get busy with the fizzy!

Materials Needed

  • plastic soda bottle
  • thumb tack
  • toilet paper
  • baking soda
  • vinegar
  • marbles



  1. Using the thumb tack, make a hole in the cap of the soda bottle.
  2. Take three or four sheets of toilet paper and put some baking soda on them.
  3. Spread the baking soda out evenly and roll up the toilet paper. This slows down the reaction between the baking soda and the vinegar.
  4. Put the rolled up toilet paper into the soda bottle.
  5. Also add some marbles so that the opening of the bottle is weighted down and the hole that you poked is in the water.
  6. Fill the bottle a quarter of the way with vinegar and quickly put the cap on the bottle.
  7. Place this in a tub or pool of water and watch it go!
  8. You can also do it without making a hole - just loosen the cap.

Some of your Results

St. Joseph's G.N.S. of Chicago, IL wrote:
it started to float and when I tried to press it down it goes up

Derek, age 12 of Boston, MA wrote:
it work the first time but not the 2 time. it is fun to watch

Michael, age 11 of Arlington wrote:
the first time it did not go that fast but on the second try I added alot of backing soda and it went fast

Pele, age 7 of Bellflower, CA wrote:
It floated and me and my brother had fun in the water

Brian, age 5 of Chicago, IL wrote:
We used 9 pennies and 2 marbals. Our reaction worked pretty fast. The reaction was faster than the boat was. Nine pennies was better than five pennies because the nose of the bottle stayed in the water better. For our next time we will use between 5 and 9 pennies so that the boat goes faster, but the nose still stays in the water.

Michael of Panama City Beach, FL wrote:
well I havent tried it yet but I was jus wondering what other kind of vinegar you can use for this experiment?

Lashae, age 14 of Washington, DC wrote:
this experiment was great. the bottle blasted around my tub it was cool. but the second time it sank.

Madison, age 9 of Guangzhou, China wrote:
First it started to get real loud then it zoomed around in my tub. It was fun!

Simone wrote:
It worked for a lttle while then it sunk, but I had fun doing it.

Ian, age 10 of Berryville, VA wrote:
i usd a 1 litr botl instd of a 2 litr botl, it workd grt!!! on mi last try I just pord bakin' soda 'n vingr into the botl, and it workd grt.)fast(...

Alan, age 9 of Oklahoma City, OK wrote:
i did it with my friend for science fun!!! it was awesome. the first time it went slowly but 2nd time it blasted aroand the tub. I loved this experiment

Adam, age 11 of Walworth, WI wrote:
It went like a hovercraft, though it was pretty slow. It did not sink.

Michael, age 9 of Winnipeg, MB wrote:
It flotted and then it sink.

Alecia, age 13 of Spokane, WA wrote:
It floated across the lake the I caught it.

Leah, age 10 of Clover, SC wrote:
I tried it with my Dad one night and we put it in the bathtub and it worked! It was going at a pretty good speed and it kept on moving for about a whole minute!

Kirby, Toby, Jaime of Burnsville, MN wrote:
It went really slow but it worked a little bit. And it did move some and blowed out bubbles. lt was really fun watching. And when we pushed the whole down in the water, it went a lot faster.

Diamond, Carmen, Keia of GA wrote:
We used lemon juice and baking soda and when we added the lemon juice to the baking soda we had to put the top on quickly!! Then the air came out through the hole in the top of the bottle and the boat started to move around in the water.

Jason, age 14 of Wyoming, MI wrote:
The first few times I tried the experiment, the paper from the baking soda plugged the hole in the cap. I eliminated this, and the boat zoomed quite fast for a few seconds. I found that about 8 marbles was an optimum number. However, the marbles sometimes block the hole also. Adding soap to the vinegar makes the reaction between vinegar and baking soda happen for a longer time, although the bubbles resulting don't propel the boat.

Bailey, age 6 of Irvine, CA wrote:
It stayed still, didn't move and soaked up water. It didnt work and was very hard.

Cody, age 9 of Peterbourough wrote:
It floted and then it sank in hour.

Lincoln, age 7 of Ottawa, ON wrote:
It carried a nut across the bath.

Cole, age 9 of Gilbert, AZ wrote:
I put the backing soda in and it started moving really fast. I would do it again.

Emily, age 10 of Elizabethtown, KY wrote:
It really worked! But at first it started to sink!

Eloy, age 10 of Zapata, TX wrote:
It went really fast around the tub with water.

Lakeisha, age 11 of Jacksonville, FL wrote:
It had moved in the direction I wanted it to move in. And it had also floated in the direction the water was flowing in.

Naisha, age 10 of Brooklyn, NY wrote:
I did it the first time and it went fast around the tub. Then I did it again and it the bottle busted.

Jonathan, age 12 of San Diego, CA wrote:
I used a aquafina bottle and I put toilet paper with baking soda and I put pennies instead of water. I quickly put vinegar and I closed the cap. The bottle went for a little bit and then the next thing I heard was POP!!!

Rene, age 8 of Las Cruces wrote:
When I tried it for the first time it raced around the bathtub. The second time it did a dounut in the front of the bathtub.

Sam, age 12 of Richmond, VA wrote:
When I did it, it didn't work, but I put the bakeing soda in with out the tolet paper and it work great! (I uesd a water bottle.)

Paige, age 8 of Spokane, WA wrote:
When my mom and I tried this at home, it flew across the bathtub. It was cool. We used dark vinegar, so we could really see it working!!

not yet implemented