Imagine being in 5th grade and having your teacher give you a model rocket to build as your homework assignment. I visited the “Rocket Kids” at Willow Creek Elementary this morning in Centennial, Colorado, to help Mrs. Heaton (a modern day Miss Riley from Homer Hickam’s October Sky) launch rockets with her students. Aside from the thrill of getting to jam an engine into the bottom of a rocket, I asked the students to reflect on what they learned in the process and how it related to the book October Sky.
Each of the students was asked to post a blog entry about their experience. Mrs. Heaton had this to say…
Class, I was so pleased to see the learning and enthusiasm before, during and after our rocket launch today! You asked great questions about the differences between the paper rockets launched with air and the powder model rocket engines used with the commercial rockets we built. I was thrilled to see how the calculation team formed. As soon as you learned the formula for determining approximate altitude of the rockets, we had a crew assemble themselves with stop watch, calculator, clipboard and pen in hand! Awesome application of new knowledge!
I want you to think about the questions below now, after our launching experience with Steve today. Please blog your responses as soon as you can..
- What emotions or thoughts did you have that can relate specifically to one of the characters in Rocket Boys/October Sky? Explain
- How did the rocket launching experience enhance the reading experience? Be specific
- Try to explain one “scientific connection” that you learned during this launch.
Homer Hickam’s official website is filled with great resources for teachers. Mrs. Heaton has been using lesson ideas from the website with her students for several years, and posted some of the fun on her website.Imagine the students’ surprise when Homer Hickam’s wife, Linda, posted a comment on Mrs. Heaton’s blog and even sent an autographed picture and a letter from the author.