Launching Rockets

By Haley Yahyavi

These past few weeks in Garza’s, Kilroy’s, and Knecht’s science classes, students have been launching soda bottle rockets on the athletic field. They constructed their rockets while keeping in mind all of the physics they have been studying. Each rocket was decorated and designed based on the group members’ styles and ideas.

The materials used while creating them included manilla folders (for turrets, fins, and a nose cone), soda bottles, duct tape, bottle caps, water (for launching), string, plastic bags (for the parachute), masking tape, scissors, an air pressure pump, a launcher stand, and any desired decorating supplies.

As for the basic design of the parachute, one plastic bottle was held upside down, while the body of another plastic bottle (a bottle with a cut off spout and a cut off base) was placed on top. Next, the two bottles were taped together creating a fuselage. Along the side of the bottle is where three fins and three turrets were placed with tape. The parachute was made by attaching eight strings along the edges of a round plastic sheet (made from a trash bag) and then attaching them to the inside of the hole at the top of the rocket. Inside the hole at the top of the rocket was where the parachute would lie until it was launched. A nose cone was made to hold the parachute inside the hole until it was plummeting through the air.

When the rocket is descending, the parachute would come out and reduce the speed and acceleration of the rocket. The objective of the project was to design rockets in a way that would help achieve the longest flight time.

I interviewed several people in my journalism class who did this experiment.        “I learned how water and air work as fuel for rockets to accelerate more. I’m glad I learned how rockets work and how to build them,” said Hailey Zheng.

“It was a great hands-on way to learn about physics,” stated Isabella Macioce. “It was a cool way to take all the information we had learned about physics and use it visually,” said Hana Ulep.

I believe this project was a great way to teach students about rocket launching and the science behind it all.

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