Stars and STEM Stories
Building Water Rockets Introduces Students to Aspects of Satellite Launching
The "Water Rocket" event was held in Nairobi, Kenya, 5 September 2015, on the campus of St. Scolastica Catholic School. "Water Rocket" introduced students to aspects of satellite launching, in an effort to demystify and stimulate interest in GeoSTEM subjects as well as illustrate the linkage between Engineering and Science; i.e. engineers are needed to design and launch satellites so that scientists are able to get measurements from those platforms.
Students learned about the main components of a satellite and then watched a video of a satellite being launched. The class was then divided into groups to build their water rockets. The following materials were used for each rocket:
- Two 2-liter plastic soda bottles
- Masking tape
- Plastic folders
- Launch pad
- Pressure pump
One of the soda bottles was used as the rocket, while the other was used to make the skirting for the fins and nose cone. The plastic folders were cut to make the fins. The fins were then attached to the skirting using masking tape. The nose cone and the skirting were then attached to the other soda bottle (rocket) using the masking tape.
After that, everyone proceeded to the launch site. They filled the water rockets with different amounts of water and then used the same pressure to launch then. Then, in contrast, they used different amounts of pressure but constant amounts of water. The learners were able to note the differences and ask questions.
"Water Rockets" was a very successful event and a great way to make learning fun. Special thanks to Sr. Emily Macharia, the Administrator of St. Scholastic Catholic Primary School and and teachers Steve, McDebogo and Enock for their support.
For more images, view the video created by Charles Mwangi, GLOBE Assistant County Coordinator in Kenya and event organizer, who contributed this report.