Day 170: Rocket Launches

Monday, 12 May 2014

Perfect liftoff.

Perfect liftoff.

Today was launch day for 3 of my 4 classes! We built the rockets from kits, made a few calculations about launch velocity and maximum altitude they should achieve, then launched them.

The rocket project was written by my colleague Akwetee for our unit on Impulse and Momentum. We’ve discussed as a group of physics teachers at my school that we like this project because it puts fun at the front end (building a rocket) rather than delaying all the fun till the end. We agree that kids will get into projects more deeply if they perceive them as fun or interesting.

On launch day, the main objectives were to measure the max altitude of the rockets and the launch velocity. Several kids commented that they were surprised by how fast the rockets leave the launchpad.

Today was sunny, hot, and humid. I got a nice sunburn to show for my efforts but it was so nice to spend an entire school day outdoors with kids. We cheered for just about every launch and wept over the ones that got caught in trees.

Viking model rocket from Estes.

Viking model rocket from Estes.

A few rockets impaled themselves when their chutes failed to deploy.

A few rockets impaled themselves when their chutes failed to deploy.

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