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Rockets, on a smaller scale, are relatively easy to launch. You place it on a launch pad and watch it take off into the air. But for one Chavez Elementary fifth-grade science teacher, sometimes what you predict will happen, doesn't, but that's what makes science so unique. "We had a rocket come straight at me and end up in the back of a pick-up truck," said Wende Smith. "No damage was done though!"
For the eighth straight year, and only Smith's fourth year leading the Rocket Project at Chavez, 32 fifth graders participated in this extracurricular take-home project. "This was an eight-day project where the students spent 30 minutes each day completing the project," said Smith.
The purpose of the project is to provide students with real-world application about how different materials can affect the performance of a project and to problem-solve when things don't go as planned. Students are given information about rocket engines and have to determine which engine would be best for their rocket based on the weight of the construction material used. In the process, students learned about aerodynamics, propulsion, force, and motion. On launch day, all students recorded observational data about each rockets' flight, stability, and deployment.
"Many students who did not participate wished they had built a rocket after being spectators at launch day. We hope to encourage more participation next year by having current fifth-grade students share out their experiences," said Smith