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By Katrina Margolis
Hometown Weekly Reporter
There is little that sounds more fun than mixing vinegar and baking soda to propel a vessel into the air. The Wellesley Free Library offered just this to children of all ages, demonstrating how to make a plastic bottle rocket and then how to send it into the air. Youth Librarian Emma Weiler offered this messy and exciting project as part of a celebration of the Wellesley Town Reads book, “Rise of the Rocket Girls.”
Each year, the Wellesley Library and MassBay Community College come together to engage readers in discussion about one book. This year, Nathalia Holt’s book was chosen. It tells the story of women who helped launch the US space program in the 40s and 50s. Weiler though that creating their own rockets would be a fun and creative way of involving children who were too young to read the book.
She provided all of the materials to make the experiment happen. Pencils were duct-taped onto plastic bottles in tripod. After the bottle was filled with vinegar, a paper towel stuffed with baking soda was dropped in, and kids and their parents alike attempted to flee from the scene before the rocket exploded on them. Weiler and the kids experimented with vinegar levels, leading to some exciting launches and some disappointing, but amusing catastrophes.
The children ranged in age from very young to early high school, but all thoroughly enjoyed the activities. One mom even got so into it she started to build rockets herself.