Goldendale Middle School students are having a BLAST! while learning the principles of physics principles in the school’s popular Rocket Club.
Math Teacher Mark Baughan Runs Lunchtime Rocket Club
Mark Baughan, a 7th grade math teacher at GMS, started the lunch ‘recess’ Rocket Club about ten years ago when he became a teacher after 28 years in the aerospace industry.
Students use simple, inexpensive ($5.95/ea) Pitsco Solid Fuel Rocket Kits from the Pitsco Company to build the body tube, design and shape the rocket fins, and make the parachute recovery system. When they’re finished, they watch their rockets blast toward the stratosphere.
Mark will often has nearly ½ of the 7th grade class participating in this exciting, hands-on activity. Any interested 7th grader is welcome to join the club. Mark utilizes some of the rocket club members from the previous year – ‘experienced’ 8th graders – as leaders and trainers for the incoming 7th graders interested in building and launching rockets.
After carefully assembling their rockets, the kids paint them, name them and have a ton of fun during launch days. AND, the kids can take their rockets home and keep them. All of this is accomplished during lunch recess.
This hands-on project is not only a ‘blast’ for the students – but also demonstrates important STEM-related principles in Science (Acceleration, Thrust, Center of gravity/pressure), Technology (Problem Solving, Spin-offs, Systems), Engineering (Safety Engineering, Technological Design, Modeling), and Math (Trigonometric Ratios, Measuring angles/lengths, Symmetry)
Hats off to Mark Baughan and his amazing Rocket Club – they are proving that Science and Math are fun!