Chloe Hixson, front, launches a hydrogen rocket in Susan Peck’s Chemistry I class Tuesday afternoon. Pictured behind Hixson are Barkley Hancock, Tasha Wilson, and Susan Spinks.
Students in Susan Peck’s Chemistry I class were treated Tuesday to one of their more entertaining lessons of the year, a contest to determine which chemical combination makes for the most explosive hydrogen rocket.
“The goal of the lesson was to find the most powerful mixture of hydrogen and oxygen and then use it to launch a rocket across the room,” Peck explains. “We tested six different ratios, and the students found that a ratio of four hydrogens to two oxygens was the most explosive.”
Students filled small plastic “rockets” with the mixtures and launched them with a modified gas grill lighter. Following the scientific method, their experiments began with a hypothesis and they charted the results of each trial launch. The lesson ended with a contest to see which group of students could launch a rocket the farthest.
“They really got into it – were really competitive,” Peck says. “They were jumping up and down and high-fiving their lab partners. It’s nice to see that kind of enthusiasm.”
Blake Biggs tests different mixtures of hydrogen and oxygen to see what ratio makes the biggest explosion in Susan Peck’s Chemistry I class Tuesday.