with Ed Insel
Rocket Men and Women
Wow, the kids did an awesome job with their rockets!
This is the first time I’ve seen ten students successfully fly, recover, and then re-fly their rockets. The first flight used low-impulse engines and made it as high as 1,000 feet. The second launch used higher impulse engines and peaked at around 1,600 feet. We only had time to launch one rocket a third time, and we used an even higher impulse engine – best guess is about 2,500 feet. It went so high that the winds drifted it out of sight and it was lost. So sorry, but it advanced engineering understanding so “the pencil” lived a worthy life! Thank you to our two safety officers, our timers, our chasers, and our videographer.
Embedded in the fun were some important engineering lessons the students should have taken away. The first: best results are achieved when we pay attention to the fabrication details. Second: every project needs people to take on varying roles and do them well. Third: planning the sequence of events ahead of time makes the whole project flow smoothly. And fourth: there is always something that can be done better next time! The lessons I learned include in-class training on roles/responsibilities on launch day, adding a few stopwatches to the toolkit, bringing a small table students can work at, having the students insert the igniters into their own engines, handing out extra wadding during final assembly, and finding smaller weights to put in the altitude-checking streamers.
Thank you to those parents who hung around to watch. I think the students put on a show well worth seeing! I will see if I can edit down the video so others can see it during the Engineering Fair on June 2.
Homework for Next Session
Remember, we do not have class next Monday, so students have two weeks to finish their engineering project. Several students have picked good engineering projects, but a few still haven’t told me what they are working on – please check your project choice with me via email. Later this week I will send everyone a final checklist of deliverables for the Fair and the exact times we’ll be displaying our work.
Have a wonderful Memorial Day, and please be sure to take a moment to remember our military men and women who died protecting freedom and democracy around the world.