What a blast off!

June 05, 2001 11:00 pm
Mick Lane was at the control of rocket ignition at the launch pad. (Baker City Herald photograph by S. John Collins).
Mick Lane was at the control of rocket ignition at the launch pad. (Baker City Herald photograph by S. John Collins).

By CHRIS COLLINS

Of the Baker City Herald

Five, four, three, two, one blastoff!

That countdown echoed across the Baker Sports Complex soccer field nearly 50 times Tuesday afternoon as North Baker School third-graders took to the field with rockets theyve been preparing for launch.

Sending the rockets skyward was the culmination of a project that covered many areas of the curriculum, according to teacher Mick Lane.

We spent most of the last quarter talking about rocket flight, he said. Its a real high-interest thing for third-graders. They just love it.

Students began the school year with a visit from Judy Davidson, a Baker Middle School teacher, who shared her experiences at Space Camp with the third-graders.

Jan Bonn, who also teaches third grade at North Baker Elementary, said the children learned about the solar system during the year, studied Newtons Laws of Physics and learned new vocabulary words related to flight while building the rockets.

Its been a fascinating unit, she said.

Students personalized their rockets by painting them with bright colors and designs. Danny Shermans blue rocket carried white lettering titling it the WAZ-UP.

They did get pretty creative, Lane said. That didnt help the drag and weight situation.

The 9-year-olds learned firsthand the importance of following directions while assembling the rockets, which were purchased for $2 each.

Alison Guyer said her rocket did what her classmates called a triple axle because she didnt pack her wadding in far enough. Kindra Smith said she first glued her engine block in the wrong end and had to remove it and correct the mistake.

Loose fins at the base also caused some rockets to spin off sideways instead of heading straight up, according to Chase Rapien.

If the fins are loose it can go in any direction, Mallory Bailey added.

To ensure that didnt happen, students glued the fins and let them dry. They then smoothed glue along the edges we call it welding, Bailey said to seal up any cracks between the rocket and the fins.

We put it on piece by piece because Mr. Lane wanted everything to be perfect, she said.

Nine-year-old Carson Caldwell, who said hes flown rockets for about five years, reaped the benefits of his careful work.

Mine went perfectly straight and it went up perfectly, he said.