High school students have shared a common goal this summer, launching math and science with paper rockets. Their objective was to design and build hundreds of rockets, launch them all, and measure the distance traveled.
The rockets were powered by air pressure, not fuel, but the principle behind the launch was the same thing – when a rocket is properly designed, it might soar above 200 feet. It the rocket is off balance, or has a lot of friction and wings that are not evenly distributed, and it will flutter over a few feet and crash.
“You know how, in the Arctic, how ships go through water and try to break the ice, that’s how I think of this,” said freshman Juan Caballero, explaining how he and his team would modify the point of their rocket to reduce wind resistance and gain more distance.
The two day program at Freedom High School is in its third year. It has proven effective at giving students a way to relate science to real life.
“The purpose of this was to give science more dimension,” said Cheryl Ochinero-Richmond, chair of the science department at Freedom. “They’re bringing real-world application into the classroom. We can now turn around and say, ‘This is what you can do with a math degree, this is what you can do with an engineering degree,’ and it holds a lot of weight with the kids.”