TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Students from Moore Middle School in Tyler got the opportunity to build and test their own rockets Wednesday and Thursday as part of the school’s first-ever rocketry-based STEM summer camp.
Thursday’s activities gave incoming 7th graders an explosive preview of what awaited them in the upcoming school year.
“This is our first year of STEM Camp. We’ve introduced [the STEM program] into our campus,” said Kenya McCullough, science coordinator of STEM Camp. “It’s just an introduction to our program of what they can expect throughout the year.”
Students were tasked Wednesday with building “water rockets”, or a model rocket propelled primarily using pressurized water as its reaction mass, as well as typical model rockets, which use battery-powered engines.
The rockets come in kits, but it doesn’t mean there isn’t any problem solving involved.
“You have to know if the currents cross that it will cause a misfire,” said 7th grader Shloak Dalal. “Also if you don’t turn the key the right way then, again, it will cause a misfire.”
“We have to check the electric current so that they can function correctly,” 7th grader Fabiola Caraballo added. “Apparently we have some sort of recovery system; in this case it’s a parachute. We’re trying to see what works best, and how high they can go."
While one-half of the students launched their rockets, the other half used altitude trackers to see how high the rockets peaked.
“In order to track the altitude, it’s a trigonometric equation -- and 7th graders obviously aren’t good at trigonometry yet -- so we have these trackers that allow them to follow it to the apogee, which is the highest point the rocket reaches," Lauren Bowers, 7th grade science teacher explained.
It’s the first year Tyler Independent School District held a STEM-based camp. Based on the excited countdowns, cheers, and laughter, it wouldn’t be the last.
“Hopefully as the years go, we get more and more students involved in STEM, involved in rocketry, and just excited about learning,” Bowers added.