This is a guest post from Virginia Science Enrichment Teacher Allyson Greene.
Today was beyond ordinary for our 5th graders at K. W. Barrett Elementary School in northern Virginia! We went on a 4-H sponsored field trip, called Rockets to the Rescue, held at Washington, DC's Verizon Center. The trip allowed my students to become actively involved in building and testing a model rocket that could, theoretically, help deliver food and supplies to those in need should there be a natural disaster.
The excitement built as we ventured on air-conditioned buses to the event (buses that not only had televisions but even bathrooms, which, in the eyes of a 5th grader is just awesome). We entered the venue and heard from several engineers and scientists before it was time to get building!
We used PVC piping, scissors, tape, paper, string, and large soda bottles to construct a rocket and its launching device. Lots of negotiating, some arguing, and a little trial and error enabled our fifth graders to determine the best way to meet the challenge. Planning, building, testing, redesigning, planning, building, testing, redesigning.....the students approached the problem like real scientists.
Eventually each team 'gelled' and created a successful launch. As one team reported, the rocket went all the way past the runway and into the wires up in the ceiling! It was so refreshing to see the students' intense enthusiasm for hands-on learning!
In addition to being a memorable experience, the event was also hopefully ‘the hook' for some of our students to look and to think more about their futures as engineers or scientists!
Follow Ms. Greene on Twitter to learn more about her adventures in science.