Physical World Concepts Classes Build and Launch Model Rockets

PHYSICAL WORLD CONCEPTS CLASSES BUILD AND LAUNCH MODEL ROCKETS -- In the picture above, students prepare to launch the rockets that they have built.

Chip Strickland

PHYSICAL WORLD CONCEPTS CLASSES BUILD AND LAUNCH MODEL ROCKETS — In the picture above, students prepare to launch the rockets that they have built.

DayOnna Carson, Head Staff Writer

On May 14 and 15, the Physical World Concepts classes, taught by Chip Strickland with the help of Jerry Allen, initiated several model rocket launches at the school. The small scale rocket launches were part of a class project that Mr. Allen and Mr. Strickland assign to students at the end of the year.

“This activity allowed students to incorporate concepts like Newton’s first and third laws of motion,” alluded Mr. Allen.

The teachers did not have to worry about buying enough materials for their students to use since they had already bought kits that included everything one would need to build an individual rocket. The components necessary for successful completion of the device included a parachute, an engine, fins, the protective outer body of the rocket, and a nose cone to securely keep the other parts in place. The pricing of the kits ranged anywhere from $20 to $80, and the teachers usually spend a total of $2,400 for all of their materials.

“The students were graded based on their ability to follow directions and have their rockets successfully complete three separate rocket launches,” elaborated Mr. Allen. “For every unsuccessful launch that a student made, their grade went down.”

There were four different sized engines that were used to propel the model rockets into the air. Since the engines have varying strengths, they may have affected the speed and height that each rocket reached.

In order to launch the rockets, an igniter is inserted into the engine and two clamps are attached to each prong of the igniter. Then you attach the rocket to a rod that is a part of the launch pad. After ensuring that you have all of the other elements properly installed, you can launch the model rockets with the press of a button on the launch controller. Once mid-air, the rocket releases its parachute for a smooth landing.

In the earlier hours of the school, Mr. Strickland and Mr. Allen’s classes launched their rockets in the front parking lot, but as the wind began to pick up speed their classes migrated to the track for a more successful rocket flight.

Luckily, a majority of the rockets had a successful launch. Although there were a few malfunctions with a few of the student built rockets, all of them conducted at least one successful take off.

“I thought that the whole process of making our own rockets was really fun,” Erin Taylor divulged. “It was a really memorable experience of my freshman year.”

“Overall, this project is really fun because it really brings out best in everybody. Oddly enough, there are some people that are afraid of the rockets because they think that they’ll explode, which isn’t the case. Everyone else wants to chase after and catch theirs, which really brings out the inner kid in all of my students,” expressed Mr. Allen.

The final things that Mr. Allen hoped his students took away from the experiments are that science is fun, and that following instructions is very crucial to any situation.