When? February 13, 2015
Where? Curry Student Center
Who? Boston Public Middle School Students
In February, Northeastern’s Center for STEM Education and Northeastern AIAA hosted Boston public middle school students on Northeastern’s campus for a day of hands-on learning about rocketry.
The field trip began in Curry Student Center with a Powerpoint presentation (Fundamentals of Rocket Stability) by AIAA members that featured information about our rockets and outlined basic topics of rocket stability, specifically Newton’s 3rd Law, center of gravity, and center of pressure. The students were encouraged to participate in the lesson and they did so by asking questions and sharing their knowledge about rockets.
Then, the students moved to tables equipped with materials to build stomp rockets: paper templates for the rocket body and fins, scissors, tape, and Play-Doh. With the basics of rocket stability fresh in their minds, the students customized their paper stomp rockets used different amounts of fins (fastened to the rocket with tape) and Play-Doh (for the nose cone) in order to create a design that would travel the farthest distance. AIAA member volunteers helped the students with assembling their rockets and answered any questions that they had. It was great to see the students experimenting with different design ideas as they varied the size of the nose cones and the positioning of the fins.
Once the students’ rockets were finished, the stomp rocket apparatus was set up in the room and was operated by an AIAA member. Students lined up with their rockets in the hope that their designs would travel the farthest. Students were encouraged to observe how their rocket performed and then go back to the tables to improve their designs. Some reduced the size of their Play-Doh nose cones while others fastened an additional fin.
After a pizza lunch, the event moved to Northeastern’s Cabot Cage where there was more room for rocket testing. As the students tested and improved their designs, their rockets flew further and further and they were able to experience the process of design, testing, and refinement.
We look forward to hosting more Boston school students at Northeastern and giving them the opportunity to explore their interests in rocketry!
Description by Kaely Gallagher June 22, 2015