Last week saw the biggest, most exciting and awe inspiring science practical in the history of our school.
It all started with science teacher, and former NASA employee, Mr Parmentier wanting students to be enthusiastic, motivated and engaged in science, his plan was to come up with an inspirational practical project using a method he describes as “awe and wonder” to awaken students’ curiosity.
The big idea – Grafham Grange Rocket Launch, the challenge – to reach the clouds.
The project kicked off a few months ago when rockets were acquired from specialist supplier Wizard Rockets. Students led by Alfie and Tarkan, who showed extreme enthusiasm and endurance throughout the process built the rockets and three classes assembled the parachutes under the direction of Mr Parmentier and Mr Gustafsdottir.
On launch day, students gathered on the field eagerly awaiting the blast off, one by one the rockets took off each powered with a US made motor delivering 50 Newtons. We contacted Farnborough airport to let them know about our experiment prior to the event. All four rockets were launched successfully and offered an extra pop, 9 seconds after the end of the main burn, to free up the parachutes.
The heaviest of the rockets carried a Go-Pro and delivered an amazing view of the Surrey hills. Only two rockets were recovered – the others flew so high that the 10 mph wind took them away in their descent.
Students and staff were suitable impressed, the launch went beyond our expectations, and a flurry of students queued up to enrol in the program for next year.
Principal, Robin Bertrand, said: ‘It has been such a positive project for students and has had a great impact on the whole school community. We always looking for innovative ways to bring the curriculum to life – the school will invest in a 3-D printer in order to build even better rockets next year.’
Mr Parmentier said: ‘I am delighted that the project was so successful and that students are keen to join the program next year.”
Student, Elliott said:’ It was exciting to build the rockets and work with a teacher with NASA experience, it was so cool seeing them take off at so fast!’