Blast-off Science Fun

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Winthrop Avenue fourth graders collected in the school’s play area to test whether their individually designed rockets would blast off into the atmosphere to the delight of their peers. One-by-one, and under the direction of teacher Chris Merz, the students individually set their rockets onto a launching site with mixed outcomes.

Even though some of the students’ rockets had ignitor issues because of problems between the fuel and fuse, the students were happy to go back to the proverbial drawing board to figure out how to make their rockets take off.   

“This is how the students learn that the scientific method is not necessarily linear, but circular,” Mr. Merz said. “The students learned that, in many cases, they have to revisit stages to get a good outcome.”

The students have been studying alternative rocketry, which ties into learning of engineering, the solar system and forces in motion. Upon receiving a kit from the BOCES Elementary Science program, students learned to follow the instructions to build the rockets, a rocket’s parts and its possible fuels (propellants), and then utilized math skills for precise measurement. The students also learned about the history of rocketry and read about Apollo 11’s mission.