Third- and fourth-grade students at Almor West Elementary School became rocket science enthusiasts on Monday when they launched homemade rockets powered by pressurized water into the cloudy sky.
Ray Kimbrell, the school’s Makerspace teacher, began the rocket building lessons by playing President John F. Kennedy’s famous “Moonshot” speech to his students.
“You know the part where he says ‘we’re gonna go to the moon and do the other thing’, well they thought that was hilarious and they wanted to know what ‘the other thing’ was”, said Kimbrell.
After learning about the origins of the space race, the students were tasked with designing and building their own rockets out of plastic bottles. Kimbrell taught the students basic rocket design and aerodynamics to help them design their rockets – but there was another catch, the students had to help bring back an astronaut, in the form of an egg, safely. safety on Earth after launch.
Students had to build capsules for these “egg-stronauts” to ensure a safe landing.
“I would say about 60 percent of the astronaut eggs survived,” Kimbrell said.
The key to keeping the eggs intact, according to Kimbrell, was to pack enough cushion to wedge the egg, but not so much that the egg couldn’t move.
“Then whoever really packed it didn’t survive because it’s like hitting concrete,” Kimbrell said.
Jolene File, 11, said her design partners originally wanted to line their capsule with pool noodles, but she changed her mind.
“I told them to put cotton balls in there because if you put a pool noodle there would be too much pressure on the egg and it would break,” File said.
It’s possible that File’s stroke of genius saved his team’s egg, which returned safely to the ground, wrapped in cotton balls.
“They had a lot of fun launching the rockets. I think that’s the big takeaway,” Kimbrell said. “That, and they learned the design process.”