I'll be back in Bloomington, Indiana next Friday, to tech the Ivy Tech College for Kids model rocketry class again.
Last year was a lot of fun, and went much better than I think people were expecting. A number of parents told me they were surprised how much their kids learned during the class.
I was happy, but I knew the kids could learn a lot in one week. Each session lasts five days, at three hours and ten minutes per day, and it was rainy. So I had a lot of time to fill, and was able to teach a surprising amount of the basic principles of rocketry.
|Demonstrating a cluster rocket - the three-motor Trident|
Occasionally, I would ask a question on The Rocketry Forum about this or that, but because I was teaching a kid's rocket camp, most people kept saying "You've got to keep it simple!"
|Demonstrating use of the Estes Altitrak|
|Claire writes down the elevation angle data from each flight|
They really can surprise you. I occasionally asked a question of these kids about something I was explaining a day or two before - how total impulse was measured, for example - because I wanted to see if they were absorbing the information. Was I actually going over their heads, I wondered. But the kids were able to answer the question - often, the kid who knew the answer was one I didn't think had been paying attention!
I'm going to try to keep this blog updated throughout the three weeks of this year's rocket camp, because the experience was valuable to me, and I think it may benefit some of you out there. For the rocket n00bs who read this blog, there may be a thing or two that you might learn from it, or if you're an old hand at rocketry, but a n00b to teaching rockets, maybe you'll get a couple ideas. We'll see.
In any case, it'll be fun to spend three weeks building and flying rockets with a very enthusiastic group - kids. Seeing a rocket launch can blow the mind of even the coolest 13-year-old. And if you built that rocket yourself, it's even more amazing.
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