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Ready for Liftoff! November 19, 2012

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While many fifth graders at the Fox Hill school were off on their overnight field trip to Camp Bournedale, a group of young scientific minds stayed behind and participated in “Camp Foxy.” After the first day, in which students watched a live webinar with astronauts from the International Space Station, we dove deeper into rocket science with a project aimed at bringing all the STEM disciplines together answering one simple question: “What angle should we launch a rocket to make it travel the furthest distance?”

At what launch angle will the rocket travel the farthest?

Students were asked to predict which angle they believed would launch their rockets the farthest after sharing what they already knew about the topic by considering how they throw sports equipment such as baseballs or footballs long distances. They were then put to work assembling their own rockets to experiment with! When all rockets were ready the students democratically selected a launch site. The weather was good so we went out to the school’s front walkway to experiment.

Constructing straw rockets!

Students were very excited to try their rockets out and experimentation did get a bit messy! It was great to hear students deliberate over whether launches were “fair.” One unexpected problem we faced as teachers were some unexpected results! Despite the students’ short statures there was enough height provided to the initial launch point that students frequently fired their 20 degree launches further than the 45 degree angle, leading to puzzled reactions from some students when their results didn’t match up with their ‘sure-thing’ predictions.

Measuring launch to landing using metric measuring tapes.

After lunch we added a third goal by asking students to communicate what they had learned and how they had learned it via a short “Show Me” presentation using some iPads available in the school. The Show Me app leaves some to be desired in the way of editing work and their was a limited amount of time remaining in the day for kids to brainstorm, outline their presentation, and then make the final work. That being said students gave their best efforts.

Sydney’s Rocket Presentation

Eric’s Rocket Presentation

Sonny’s Rocket Presentation Part 1 and Part 2

Teachers were learning during the activity as well when it became apparent that an elevated launch point (as a results of students standing during their launch!) eschewed data and led to some puzzling conclusions for students who started the day with “sure-thing” predictions. Fortunately, some discussion was had between students and teachers about how “fair” or valid the results were. These were conversations that helped the students better understand their results while giving teachers valuable experience to reshape the lesson for future classrooms!

Using the “Show Me” app to communicate our results.

Rocket Day 2011 November 21, 2011

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Despite the wild weather Burlington experienced in October, our “Rocket Day” programs, sponsored once again by the Air Force Communication and Electronics Association were spectacular sights to see!


At every school students experienced an impressive showing of the forces of flight from Ms. Pavlicek and Mr. Musselman. A newly polished Rocket Car was on display to demonstarte Newton’s third law of motion. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction!

The assistance of Amanda Gustafson, Chip Grueter, Kristina Deer, and Kim Matthews was indispensable to the experience of our students as they assisted us with the safe firing of over three hundred rockets over the course of four Rocket Days. In addition, the RC plane demonstrations performed by Amanda and Chip were an incredible thrill, leaving all the Memorial students “ooh-ing and ahh-ing” at the impressive display of acrobatics performed by their aircrafts.

A number of our fourth grade teachers and parents took some great photos of the event. Check out their blog pages listed at the bottom for great photos. Also special thanks to Mrs. Weinberg for the wonderful animoto slideshow she made embedded below!

Thanks again to the Air Force Communication and Electronics Association for their generous support.

Related Links:
Miss Hayes’ Classroom Blog
Mrs. Visocchi’s “Peanuts Gang” Blog