FUN WITH ROCKETS

MARQUETTE- With how chilly the summer is starting off, it’s no wonder kids are enjoying being inside at Northern Michigan University in College for Kids building rockets.

College for Kids offers many different classes ranging from messy science to robotics for kids in kindergarten through eighth grade. One of the more popular classes offered by College for Kids is Advanced Rockets, where children learn to build a rocket that gets launched into the air on the last day.

JoEllen Hadel, a teacher at North Star Academy, teaches Advanced Rockets to children in grades six through eight. The class is based on a modified version of a rocket competition that NASA created, Hadel said.

“The kids are given $1 million to build their rocket and with that money they can buy supplies to build their rocket,” she said. “For example a 2-liter bottle is $200,000 and cardboard is $25,000 and so on.”

The students not only learn the best way to build a rocket and the physics behind it, they also learn how to budget money, keep a checkbook, keep records of their orders and the basic science that goes into making a bottle rocket fly.

“The kids even have to pay for a consultation if they have a question,” Hadel said. “That consult is me obviously, but I don’t give them a straight answer all the time. I give them options and they have to choose what the best option for them is.”

Perry Mesloh, 11, of Marquette said he wanted to take Advanced Rockets because it had LEGOs and rockets and he likes both of them.

“Building the rocket has been really fun,” Mesloh said. “The budgeting has been pretty easy to do and our rocket is almost done.”

Mesloh worked with his partner Michael Mozader, 12, of Marquette to build a green and red rocket out of a 2-liter bottle and while doing so, he learned about how rockets work.

“The teacher taught us about pounds per square inch and we got a certain amount of material for free and then we had to start paying for it,” Mesloh said. “I’m excited to launch it. We reinforced our rocket with cardboard in our containment unit, so if thing takes a bad crash it won’t be ruined.”

Hadel said her favorite part of the class is seeing how the children put together their rockets and the creativity that goes into doing it.

“They are using their math skills, they are using their engineering and taking everything that they’ve learned in school in individual classes and putting it together in this class,” she said. “Sometimes it’s a real surprise to see who wins the contest because it’s not just building a rocket, it’s all of the above and it’s neat to see that.”

Adelle Whitefoot can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 243. Her email address is awhitefoot@miningjournal.net.