Edwards AFB — One after another, rockets blasted off from Desert High School’s junior varsity baseball field for Branch Elementary School’s 4th Annual Intermediate Space Challenge held May 12.
Students cheered as the rockets they built were launched into the sky. The competition included 4th-6th grade classes that worked on a Big Daddy Rocket Kit for around two weeks leading up to the big day.
Each class operates like a small business during the design and construction phase. Students are assigned to teams for t-shirt design, banner decorating, rocket design, or the pit crew to help with any additional tasks. Mentors are invited to teach the students how to build their rockets.
“We want to develop problem solving, creativity and critical thinking skills with real world applications through this project,” said Kim Cantrell, Branch Elementary teacher.
Students in each class worked as teams to develop their class name and slogan. Banner teams were given a 3′ x 6′ banner upon which to display team information. Additional class teams worked to decorate classroom doors with rocket themes and each grade level developed a space history timeline.
“Judges used a scale from one to 10 points to judge rocket integration: fin symmetry and glue precision; overall strength of the rocket; inventive or unique theme such as creativity and paint quality, and overall design creativity,” said Cantrell.
Banners were also judged with similar requirements.
Throughout the process, the students learned about Newton’s Laws of Physics and materials like different types of glue.
In all, 24 Class A amateur rockets were launched to the “oooos” and “ahhhhhs” of the students.
The overall winner of the banner design was Mrs. Piper’s sixth grade “Galaxy Gliders.” Rocket integration was won by Cantrell’s sixth grade “Flashpoint” team. Mr. Cieslik’s fourth grade team, “Crocs Rock,” won the highest altitude achieved at 647 feet. Fourth grade teachers won the contest with an average altitude reached of 411 feet.