Young rocketeers lift-off in The Square
The Square in Palmerston North briefly became a mini Cape Canaveral as teams of young techies let bottle rockets fly.
After a four-week long countdown of learning, discussion, designing and testing in rocket class, it was finally time for lift-off on Friday night.
The Tech Challenge programme for years 7-10, part of the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) outreach programme, was supervised at City Library by Tyler Benson, a fourth year Massey University Bachelor of Engineering student.
Benson divided the 18 school pupils into two groups, who worked in teams of three or four on building ‘‘high-pressure, hydro-powered bottle rockets’’.
Fuelled by water and compressed air in accordance with Newton’s Third Law of Physics - for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction - the twolitre plastic drink bottle rockets can reach a considerable height.
Dylan Evans, 12, from Ross Intermediate, said he really enjoyed the programme.
‘‘We’ve been learning about the three laws of physics, and aerodynamics, and we’ve been making at least two or three prototypes.’’
The programme also focused
‘‘We've been learning about the three laws of physics, and aerodynamics, and we've been making at least two or three prototypes.’’ Dylan Evans
on learning about design, structural integrity, prototyping techniques, teamwork, communications and 3-D printing.
A 3-D printer was used to create a cargo container, designed by homeschooled Kaylee Roberts, 12, to hold an electronic altimeter so they could see how high their rocket reached.
Another team member, Phoebe Conger, 10, from Kairanga School said they added fins to their rocket to help stabilise it in flight. It also had a parachute.
‘‘When we tested it, the parachute deployed really well,’’ Pheobe said.
On Thursday, another team tested their ambitious twinengined rocket, launching it from two three-legged ‘‘Aquaports’’.
The Aquaport anchors the rocket in place so air can be pumped into it.
Any failures were considered part of the learning process.
Jack Hancock leaves the launch zone as his team’s hydro rocket blasts off.