White Rock Elementary Schools Host Rocket Launches

Volunteer Rob Hermes helps Piñon Rocket Club members set up for a launch. Courtesy/LAPS

Members of the 2022 Chamisa Rocket Club. Courtesy/LAPS

LAPS News:

For the first time since 2019, Rocket Club members at Chamisa and Piñon elementary schools were able to host a rocket launch for fellow classmates.

At Chamisa Elementary, 18 students in fifth and sixth grades met weekly Tuesday afternoons since the end of January. Teachers Robert Judd and Megan Lee, along with community volunteers Tammy Hinckley, Heath Watkins and Rob Hermes guided club members in learning about rockets, building rockets and rocket safety.

The rocket club at Piñon Elementary included 16 sixth graders and five fifth graders. They started building their rockets just before spring break. Teacher Fran Flesner, along with Matt Sheats, Tom Beach and Rob Hermes sponsored the rocket club.

“It is a good experience for the students,” Flesner said. “They get to select the rocket they want to build. Each kit comes in pieces that they put together to make their rocket. They learn the correct terminology for the rocket parts and the construction of the rocket.”

Students had a list of approved rocket kits that they could choose from, including Alpha, Baby Bertha, Big Bertha, Der Red Max, US Army Patriot, Nike Smoke, Boosted Bertha, Loadstar II and Big Daddy.

“Mr. Hermes goes over the science behind what makes a rocket launch,” Flesner said. “The students get so excited when their rockets are built. They select the color or colors of paint to paint their rocket, and they learn how to construct the rocket so it will not break during the launch.”

Launches were held at the beginning of the school day in late April. On launch day, students place their rocket on the launch pad and, as the crowd is counting down, each student gets to press the ignition button that makes their rocket launch into the sky.

“The look on the student’s faces as their rockets launch makes all the effort and hard work worthwhile,” Flesner said. “When they retrieve their rockets the smiles on their faces are priceless.”

“I would encourage all schools to have a club,” Lee added. “The students loved it. So many of the students in third and fourth grades said they want to join the rocket club when it is their turn.”

Both teachers gave special shout outs to the volunteers who helped with the Rocket Clubs.

“A big thank you to our community members who help with the club,” Flesner said. “Without Mr. Hermes’ expertise and time we could not have the club.”

She also thanked Beach for supplying all the equipment for the launch and for his time.

Lee offered a thank you to Judd for pulling it together for the students under difficult circumstances.

“Thank you to Rob Hermes, Tammy Hinckley and Heath Watkins for your support and expertise,” Lee added. “Their commitment to our yearly Rocket Club is invaluable and we appreciate it.”

Members of the 2022 Chamisa Rocket Club. Courtesy/LAPS

Members of the 2022 Piñon Rocket Club. Courtesy/LAPS


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