Archive for Wednesday, November 26, 2003

What a blast

Students apply rocket knowledge

November 26, 2003

The climax of a rocket launch -- blastoff -- was a little underwhelming for a group of Eudora West Elementary School fourth-graders, whose first attempts to launch a model rocket were unsuccessful.
But after the group got going, the enthusiasm for seeing their hard work put to the test didn't slow down. The group of extended learning students participating in the launch Monday afternoon heralded nearly every blastoff with a countdown no less exciting than the last.
The students in Becky Florance's extended learning classes at West and other schools in the special education cooperative to which USD 491 belongs launched model rockets as well as a homemade version constructed from a two-liter soda bottle filled with water.
Victoria Lehmann said her group had already launched their two-liter rockets.
"We just did them with air, so ours went about that high," Lehmann said, indicating a height a few feet off the ground.
While other students gave their two-liter rockets a shot Monday afternoon, Lehmann and some of her fellow fourth-graders gave a shot at launching their model rockets, the heights of which the students gauged using a tool measuring the angle from the ground to the rocket's apex and then doing calculations.
Putting together the models wasn't all fun and games, Kate Dennis admitted.
"We had to glue everything on," she said, explaining some of the details. "They were complicated."
For Lucas Becker, however, the complexity extended to the tools, too.
"We had fast-dry glue," he said of the two-day project. "I glued my hand to my rocket. It hurt quite a bit."
The rockets further stretched the students' brains by having them graph information about how high the rockets went, and Becker said he and other students were testing their rockets by weight.
Finally, a successful launch was complete, and Dennis said she was pleased with the results -- especially the neon streamer that came out of the rocket.

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