Students launch rockets

Published 9:53 pm Friday, December 2, 2016

Star Pointe Academy students stepped outside of the classroom and into the parking lot on Friday to participate in a unique aerospace program.

Several weeks ago, the students made their own bottle rockets. The activity aligned with Star Pointe Academy’s curriculum, which focuses on science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics.

During this time, Engineering for Kids, an organization that exposes children to education in the so-called “STEM” areas, taught the students about aerospace and how the bottle rockets tied into the material.

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On Friday, the company returned to the school to launch the rockets.

“We are looking for kids in the community to get excited about engineering,” said Cheryl Ellis, owner and director of the Engineering for Kids Hampton Roads branch.

Shelton Daniels and his classmates thoroughly enjoyed the bottle rocket activity.

“We got to design our own rockets, and mine went the farthest,” Shelton said.

One by one, the students stepped up to have their rockets launched. One of the instructors placed the rocket on the launch pod and start pumping air into the device. The other instructor had a pin latched in the launch pod, which was attached to a piece of string wrapped around a gray block.

At the other end of the launch pod, the student also had the same set-up as the instructor.

The instructor’s pin was necessary for safety purposes and would be released before or at the same time as the student pulled their string to launch the rocket.

After several pumps, the rocket was ready for launch. The students and instructors did a countdown together, and at zero the student and the instructor yanked on their string releasing the rocket several feet into the air.

The students shrieked with excitement and cheered on their fellow classmates as they tried to chase after their rockets and catch them as they descended.

Brena Daniels, founder of Star Pointe Academy, said the activity “makes it really easy to teach, because the kids are excited.”

“These are memory builders,” she said.

Ellis believes STEM programs like the bottle rockets are important, especially in today’s digital age.

“There are so many jobs available, but kids aren’t going in that direction,” she said.

In addition to aerospace engineering, the company’s programs also cover other engineering disciplines including chemical, civil, environmental, industrial, mechanical and software.

“We are trying to introduce them in all kinds of ways,” Ellis said.