Reaching out through science

Science Club travels to elementary schools


Photo by Angela Valle

Fifth grade students at Westlawn Elementary build model rockets, designed to teach them the laws of motion. Science Club has traveled to this campus twice, as part of their local outreach.

Story by Margaret Debenport, staff writer

Science Club members traveled to Westlawn Elementary and helped fifth grade students explore the use of mechanical energy by creating javelin rockets on Thursday, Nov. 9 and Friday, Jan. 26.

The purpose of the activity was to teach the fifth graders to investigate the effect of force applied to a rubber band on the flight of the foam rocket. Sponsors Jessica Sharp and Nicole Ayers guided participants through the outing and trained the club members on how to correctly teach the students prior to visiting the elementary campus.

The activity was introduced by Science Club president, Craig Crawford. The objective of the outing was to have students create a rocket that they were able to accurately aim and fly. After creating their rockets, they were going to compete in a competition of flight and accuracy by shooting their rockets at targets.

“My favorite part was seeing them plan out how they were going to build their rockets and seeing their minds at work,” sophomore Sarah Lingle said.

After five minutes of sketching and designing their plan, students were allowed to decide what they would need to create their rocket. The materials provided for them included 15 inches of foam pipe insulation, rubber bands, velcro strips, rocket fin and wing patterns, duct tape and small washers for weight.

“The kids really seemed interested in the project and appeared to have a lot of fun doing it,” Lingle said.

Groups then began to collaborate and create their rockets. They were given about 20 minutes to complete their rockets before the big event, the competition against their peers’ rockets, began.

After many trials, one group reigned supreme. However, it seemed every group enjoyed the chance to explore science with their friends and high schoolers.

“What I love most is how we all worked together to make the rocket and the design,” fifth grader Kimberly Garcia-Olalde said. “I learned that there’s friction on the ground, everywhere, even in the air, and the more force you apply the longer that the rocket will go.” 

The activity applied their current lessons to a hands on activity. Enriching their education while also enjoying an experiment proved to be no difficult task.

“My favorite part about about building the rocket is when we got to launch it. I learned that the more force that we have on our rocket the more it will go,” fifth grader Tatyana Gillard said.