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Upper El (Mr. D): To the Sky!

Since last week, UE has been building their bottle rockets. Last week also included extra drama practice leading up to the Spring Production, which was incredible!

For our bottle rockets, we had to understand what's important to help them fly super high. So, that's what I asked our class. What do we think is essential?


Yes! We need to have some kind of cone on top of our bottles to help slice through the air and reduce the pressure and friction on our bottles.


Oh, yea! If it has too much mass, it will have a stronger gravitational pull, making liftoff harder.

The last important detail we needed to focus on was a little harder to think of. Balance! If our rockets are unbalanced, they'll turn over and go sideways or even flip and shoot straight into the ground!

With those three things to consider, there was one last design parameter students needed to figure out. After we fill our bottles with some vinegar and then shove in the baking soda, we need to be able to cork it up and flip it quickly. So, the rocket needs to stand up on its own so we can flip it and run!

Time to design and build!

This group did a great job and made some of the most stylish and artful rockets I've ever seen. They always surprise me with how they view these assignments and take something that I might just make functional, and turn it into something special. I love it.

Launch Day!

On Tuesday, before UE left for their overnight trip, we spent some time finalizing our rocket designs and getting ready to launch. I had everything set up on the soccer field: vinegar, baking soda, goggles, and a launch pad.

The sloping hill on the edge of our little field made a perfect "grandstand" for countdowns and viewing. One at a time, students filled their bottles with 300ml of vinegar and wrapped 2 tsp of baking soda in a tissue. Then, we went to the launch pad.

Goggles on!

Then, whoever was up would shove their baking soda into the bottle. I would cork it up, give it a shake and flip it. Oh, and then run!

Our highest rocket went over three stories high! We had some twists over our heads, which even hit the school, one got trapped in a tree, and we also had straight flights too.

We even had some extra onlookers as Lower El ended up joining in, watching, cheering, and counting down for us.

It was so much fun, and I left covered in that lovely baking soda and vinegar mixture. Why? Because occasionally, the cork is in a little too tight. And who gets to pull the cork so the rocket will fly? You guessed it. And you know what... I'm so happy to do it. These kids loved this, and hearing their shouts of wonder with each launch is worth smelling like a salad for the rest of the afternoon : )

UE is on their overnight trip the rest of this week, and I'm sure they're having an amazing time. When they return, we'll start on our final project in class. Until then!

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