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RMS students launch rockets built in science class

Sixth grade students huddled around a technical-looking device outside the Russellville Middle School gym on Wednesday and poked at different wires and buttons before excitedly yelling, “5… 4… 3… 2… 1… blastoff!”
Their eyes grew wide as they lifted their heads toward the sky and watched the rockets they had built launch into the air, giving each other high-fives on a job well done.
The excitement at RMS on Wednesday centered on the launching of small-scale rockets that were part of a project by Lee Brownell’s science classes at the end of their space unit.
“It’s always good for the students to get some hands-on experience with things that they’ve been learning about in the classroom,” he said.
“They can’t work on a full-scale rocket like the ones we’ve talked about during the study of our space unit, but they could build these small rockets and have the satisfaction of seeing them actually work when we had our launch.”
Brownell said the project also helped the students work on learning to follow directions since he didn’t assist them in the building process.
“I didn’t tell the students how to build their rockets – I just gave them the instructions,” he said.
“They all did a good job, and the launches were very successful. We only had a few problems here and there, so the next step in the project will be to assess those problems, see where they might have gone wrong, and determine what they could have done to avoid those problems.”
With such an emphasis in today’s curriculum on the STEM-related fields of science, technology, engineering and math, Brownell said this project also helps foster an interest in those types of studies with the hopes that more students will realize they have an interest in STEM.
“STEM-related fields are very important in today’s technologically advanced society and the demand for jobs in those fields continues to grow,” he said.
“If students discover now that those things are something they are interested in, they can continue to study those things and improve on their knowledge and skills with the hopes that it will be beneficial to them one day in their careers.”