Rockets for Fun and Learning

I co-sponsored with another science teacher, my 27th rocket day at CHS this spring.  It was the 33rd year for him.  It was probably the most enjoyable day of them all because everyone (teachers) had their kids organized and lined up.  They made them behave and kept them out of the line of fire.


Be sure to remember to use baby powder (talcum powder) in and all over your parachutes before you roll them for launch. If you can't find talcum powder then use the powder you can find.   The other good tip is to never roll a parachute very long in advance before a launch so it will still have a natural tendency to come unrolled at the right moment.  If you have used tape anywhere the rub the sticky parts of the tape with powder to stop the stickiness

The fire resistant wadding is also a very high priority out here where burning wadding could set a pasture on fire.  I have seen some use toilet paper for wadding but it shouldn't be used in the country it just catches on fire too easily.  Well,  if you wanted to do the research there is some fire retardant chemical you can soak the paper in and then let it dry.  Just order from some rocket supplier such as Estes.

I do have a launching control box ready which can launch from 1 to 4 rockets at the same time.  It can sit on the tail gait of a pickup or in a chair or on a table it doesn't matter.  It does have to be powered by a 12 volt source.

I am now working on the school's launching system.  I am building a launching panel to attach to the table we use at school. The whole panel is only 8 x 14 cm in size.   The launching table is a school table I converted for the other science teacher and myself to use at school.  This panel will miniaturize and streamline the launching control table.

If your rocket cone is too tight you can use fine sand paper and pencil graphite or silicone spray to make it just right. 

It is preferable for the hot engine to ride the rocket home so it will cool off in flight.  If it is loose in the rocket it can pop out and fall to earth and cause serious injury if it hits someone on the head.  It can also be hot enough to set grass on fire.  If you know your engine is loose you can wrap it with masking tape and spin it back into the rocket slot so it is very tight.  Or use a wire you have flattened and built into the rocket in a way to hold the engine and not let it slip out until you move the wire back out of the way. 

You also want to check your engine block to see that it is securely glued in place in the rocket.  You can easily make an engine block by cutting a block ring off a used up engine and then using the ring for the engine block.  I have seen engines go flying through the top of a rocket while still on the pad.  Not much fun to see a flying engine out of control and your rocket left behind.  When the rocket engine fires it must push against a secure engine block glued to the inside of the rocket so it can push the rocket upward.

I will have to build some parachutes unless I find some old ones hanging in a closet.  They are simple to build.   I don't know when I will be ready for a launch but if it gets dry we will use the parking lot by the football field for launching.  I will talk to maintenance and see if we can plug in a 12v power source.    We normally just plug into an outlet at the ticket booth.  We might even talk maintenance into leaving a restroom unlocked.