Elkin High School students are taking their science classes seriously as seen in the Saturday launch of a rocket by four students attending the North Carolina School of Science and Math (NCSSM) Aerospace Engineering virtual class.
Juniors Daniel Soos, Jarrett Peterson, Harrison Hall and Asher McRitchie built the rocket with the guidance of their NCSSM instructor, Dr. Garrett Love, and spent about 38 hours working on the plans and actually building the test model.
Although they had studied aerospace engineering techniques throughout the semester, the rocket construction was an extra-credit project chosen by the students because they were all interested in seeing how it would actually work. They divided tasks based on what each student found interesting because the project was simply too much work for any one student. It took about 12 hours of planning using computer software to design, and another 26 hours to actually create the rocket, part of which was made using Elkin High’s new 3-D printer.
On Saturday morning, the students launched the rocket, and it did get off the ground, but only reached a height of about 750 feet, according to Peterson. The booster burned completely, causing the launch to abort prematurely. Although it was not perfect, the launch was still a rich learning experience for the students.
As Daniel Soos commented, “We learned technical and leadership skills throughout the project.”
The other aerospace engineering students agreed with Soos. “We highly recommend NC School of Science and Math classes because they’re fun, you learn more, and it provides college readiness,” said McRitchie and Hall.
The group also acknowledged the value of collaboration with others.
In particular, the students were grateful to Randy Wood for allowing them to use his property for the launch, and they greatly appreciated their instructor, Dr. Garrett Love, traveling from Durham to witness the experiment.
Krista Bryant is a member of the Elkin High School Journalism Club.