ELKHART — Rockets were launched from the fields of Concord High School on Tuesday as middle-schoolers celebrated their final days of school.
It was the fourth day of rocket launching for fifth-grade science teacher Ryah Prahl, who was slowly working his way through all of the students’ 430 custom-made rockets.
Since science is held only once a week, fifth-graders at Concord Intermediate School worked on their custom-designed rockets for five weeks in class.
“It’s their design,” Prahl said. “Some kids chose designs they liked and others chose designs that were aerodynamic.”
In the weeks prior to the end-of-year project, students learned about aerodynamics, thrust and drag, which helped them understand how objects stay in flight.
“This (project) was mostly about engineering and design, so they got to choose,” he said. “They get to design all their fins themselves. They get to decorate it themselves.”
Students learned that when added to a rocket, fins provide stability during flight and allow the rocket to maintain its orientation and continue its intended flight path.
“I don’t do any of it for them so if there’s a fin that’s falling off or that’s crooked, that’s why you see some of them flying off to the side.”
Fifth-grader Tiffani Hartung-Mann was one of many students to finally get to launch her rocket on Tuesday morning.
“We got to pick how many fins we wanted our rocket to have. I picked four, but a lot of people picked three,” she said.
Students also learned that three-fin models help reduce the short-lived aerodynamic force of drag, but four fins can help with balance, which can help to sustain the rocket for long flights.
“Mine went up pretty high, but then the streamer came out and it went down,” Hartung-Mann said of her rocket.
Now in the sixth year of rocket launchings, 4-H leader Wayne Robinson and Dennis Sanders volunteer every year to help with the big launch.
The event functions as part of the school’s end-of-year activities, held all week long, in addition to basketball, four square and kickball.