Archive for Friday, July 17, 2009

Young scientists have a blast learning about rockets

The Fourth of July is over, but it doesn't mean kids need to stop shooting rockets into the air.

July 17, 2009

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A group of young NASA space campers learned about forces of flight and challenges of space travel at the South Park Recreation Center.  Eric Wheatman, 11, runs back holding a rocket stage that parachuted back to earth.

A group of young NASA space campers learned about forces of flight and challenges of space travel at the South Park Recreation Center. Eric Wheatman, 11, runs back holding a rocket stage that parachuted back to earth.

A handful of Lawrence kids turned South Park into Cape Canaveral on Thursday when they set off their own mini-rockets.

The five kids are part of Kansas City’s Mad Science weeklong day camp called NASA: Journey into Outer Space.

“It’s basically just a camp for elementary school kids where they can explore different things about NASA and outer space,” said Jackie Johnson, self-proclaimed “Mad Scientist” and camp leader.

“I thought it was more fun than I thought it was going to be, and we got to shoot off rockets, and we get to build a lot of stuff,” said 11-year-old camper Eric Wheatman.

The first rocket was almost a dud and did not go off as planned after the kids enthusiastically counted down. But it did end up making its skyward journey.

“It was pretty amazing. It was really fast,” said camper Joshua Milota.

Johnson said there are sports camps, so why not science camps?

“Thanks to programs like this, kids can really get interested, and we have scientists when they grow up,” Johnson said.

The best part of Thursday’s launch might be that it was just a preview. The kids take home their own rockets today.

“They can kind of be NASA explorers in their own backyard,” Johnson said.

Comments

blindrabbit 8 years, 10 months ago

Be safe! Brings to mind an unfortunate accident that occurred in the late 1950's/early 1960's at the Callery Rocket Fuel Plant in Lawrence. Some of employees were playing around with a homemade rocket and fuel that misfired. Not sure of the final toll, but a couple killed and some injuries.

BorderRat 8 years, 10 months ago

And then, there was this one time at space camp...

Paul R Getto 8 years, 10 months ago

Great project; reminds me of the movie "October Sky." Those boys were shooting some serious rockets. Of course, safety is always paramount. We need to inspire students with 'real life' which we have somehow separated from most schooling.

cthulhu_4_president 8 years, 10 months ago

"Great project; reminds me of the movie “October Sky.” "

Did you know that the title of the movie was chosen not only for the time of year it took place, but because an anagram of the title is "Rocket Boys"?

Just FYI.

Tristan Moody 8 years, 10 months ago

blindrabbit--

These rockets are launched with prefabricated engines--there's no amateur mixing of fuel or anything of the sort, and the engines can be found at any hobby store.

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