This outreach page is entirely derived from the USLI outreach program in which we have effectively reached to 120+ students. We are planning on doing more community engagement during The University of Nebraska-Lincoln E-Week and Astronomy day.

Park Middle School fall:

We believe it is very important for young minds to experience curiosity. The kind of curiosity that makes you ask questions and solves problems. The first step of many was working with Park Middle School. 

The first day we discussed the basics of how rockets function. In doing so we made sure the students knew the dangers of their water rocket.

The next day we built a step-by-step water rocket in front of the class and showing the students the tricks of construction that we have learned over the years.

The third day we did horizontal dry air tests on the water rockets (figure 1). Doing this we made sure the rocket was stable before launching outside. A lot of teaching went on how to make the water rocket stable.

The final day we inspected the rockets making sure they were safe to fly. We had some really successful flights with some reaching the altitude near 300ft. We really enjoyed teaching the middle school students and are looking forward to working with them in the future.

Park Middle School Spring:

Teaching today has turned from pursuing your interests to memorizing the required. As I sit in class everyday I think about where I would be if I didn’t have someone or something to inspire me to learn. That is why I headed up the outreach projects for this years team. Unlike in the fall where we spent 3 days on teaching, designing and building, we shove it all into one day. We spent that one-day (3/20/12) on inspiring and telling the students about our experiences with the rocket and got the students fired up about building stomp rockets.

Paul and I started the class by getting the students attention and walked in with the subscale USLI Rocket. The “ooohs” and “awwwhs” filled the room and we got students attention immediately. Paul and I discussed the entire rocket from the nosecone to the fins and retainer. As we got deeper on how the rocket worked, students started asking questions and that is when we knew that we got a hold of their interest. When we were done speaking about the subscale USLI Rocket, we watched videos of “balls” and “LDRS” high-powered rocketry launches. We explained what the amateurs did to prepare the rocket, why they launched and what made the rocket successful with a recover system.

After the video, we brought in “Deimos” our main USLI rocket into class. We invited the students up to the front of the class and they were very excited. We compared and contrasted the subscale, full-scale and “LDRS” rockets. We answered questions about the structural integrity, recovery systems, computer systems, and how the motor works.

The overall presentation went very well. We captured the student’s young minds and we embellished their curiosity by asking them to engineer a paper stomp rocket. You are probably wondering, what is a stomp rocket?  Well you first build a launch paunch/ fuel containment device or 2L bottle containing air and a foot for the external force. You take two .848”outside diameter corner PVC pipes connected with one .625” outer diameter 5” long PVC pipe. Then attach one more straight .625” outer diameter PVC and use that for the nipple. Your U shape PVC pipe will have one end, without the nipple, be placed into the tip of the 2L bottle. The other end will be the nipple facing the direction of trajectory. The rockets themselves are made from scratch paper, wrapped around the nipple PVC pipe and then taped. Cut out some fins and a nose cone and you have a rocket.

We decided to compete to see whose rocket would go the farthest. Unfortunately the class ended and we were unable to see the students compete. All in all it was a very touching experience to not just entertain students with rockets, I got to inspire students to learn and be curious. With this being our second educational engagement we tallied up a total of 121 students affected by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln USLI team.


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