3... 2... 1... Liftoff!
by Daniel W., Concordia Middle School Student
Grade eight celebrated the semester with one last hurrah – launching water rockets from the Jinqiao rugby field. Students used water pressure to “sail” their ‘ships’ instead of real engines. Using a hand pump, grade 8 teachers Dr. Tina Harbold and Mr. Carey Halula worked with 87 future rocket scientists to assist with their launch.
Prior to the lift-off, students created several prototypes to test if their egg could land safely without any damage. While parachutes did not open properly for a few students, the potential for success was evident with little yolk found on the field.
Having multiple launch attempts proved greatly beneficial because students were allowed to perform test launches and create multiple prototypes, while last year’s students were only able to perform one launch.
Leading up to this day, students scrambled to finish augmenting their rocket designs. Tranquil students, such as grade 8 student Nelson L., were drawn into the frenzy like a whirlwind, striving for improvement. As Nelson juggled multiple aspects of the launchers, he stated, “I’ve never done something so hands-on!”
Not only was this a wholesome experience for the students but it was beyond gratifying watching the rockets soar after slaving for two consecutive weeks. “Seeing our hard work pay off was truly one of the most fulfilling experiences of this year,” said grade 8 student, Sophie C.
Many rockets failed to protect the egg, yet everyone found something to enjoy. “Honestly, even if our rocket fails it’s fine because we got to go outside on this gorgeous day,” stated Louis T. “Even waiting, and the anticipation of each rocket are enough to make you excited. If you aren’t having fun watching, there’s something wrong with you.”
NASA may not hire many of these Concordia students at this time, but it is evident students were inspired to make another attempt. This event that definitely sparked the inner engineer of many people within the grade eight community.
As an outsider, this may be dismissed as merely a fun project that would be graded, but to the eighth graders it was an event to be remembered. “In a way, this is paving the way for more glamorous science projects in the future,” explained Andrew S. “This project has a little bit of everything and it really motivated me to pursue my passion for science.”
With China’s recent lander sent to the far side of the moon, perhaps one of these eighth grade students will design the next 3.0 rocket launcher.
Daniel W. is a middle school school student at Concordia. He prepared this report as part of a journalism unit.