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Need Guidance with class.

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pjbatglen

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I have signed up to teach a rocket building class for the local recreation comission in October. I will have at least three kids, but no more than 12 in the class. The age range will be 10 and over. My plan is to run the class over two consecative Saturdays. The first day will be for building the second will the launch day.
It was my hope that they would have the rocket completed by the first day. But after reading some threads in TRF I think that this will be a bad idea. I remember reading that Flis did not have them complete the rocket at the class, but have them complete them at home. The fisrt class covered the basis of flight and basic building technics. After some tought I think that I will use that plan.
What I am looking for are any lessons plans that are available that I can use guidelines. I must admitt that I feel intimitated at the prospect of standing infront of a room full of kids. I fear that I might replace the Ben Stien as the yard stick to whitch all future bad teaches will be compared too.

So please give me guidance!!!:(
 

powderburner

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I can understand the thinking behind using classtime for a introduction, and then sending the kits home with the kids to be built on their own time. Sounds like a good plan. Then again, you will have to expect a percentage of kits that are mangled in transit or at home ("My little brother got hold of it!") and another percentage of kits that are mis-assembled.

I am not sure what is the better way, it probably depends on the maturity of the kids and on how much parental support they get at home.

Either way you do it, keep it ***simple***

You need to select/develop a beginner kit with the absolute minimum number of parts. Consider using nose-blow recovery (no chute, no streamer, no assembly problems, no attachment problems) or building a cheapo tower launcher for the class to use (no launch lugs, no placement problems, no alignment problems). If a plastic fin unit is available (no fin attachment, alignment, or placement problems) so much the better.

Whatever you do, be sure to prepare a pile of fliers ahead of time. List some local stores that sell RTF starter specials, and point out that some stores have coupons and half-price sales. List some info sources on the internet (like TRF, of course!) If there is a local (school? church? hobby-shop-sponsored?) rocketry club, list some phone numbers or other contact info. Help the interested kids take the next step. This hobby of ours is mostly a mail-order kind of deal, and that one little bit of added complication is enough to deter most kids from proceeding unless you give them a little help in finding what to do next.
 

jetra2

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I have taught two rocketry classes to homeschoolers. I did the first one using Estes Alpha's with 6 students over a 4-5 week period, one day per week. That was successful, with all teaching and construction done during class. I mainly used the Estes Educator site for my materials.

The second rocketry class I taught was with my good friend and fellow TRF'er Eugene (eugenefl), and we taught this class to 10 students using Fliskits Rhino's over a 1 week period. We again mainly used the Estes Educator site, but this time we modified it a tad to make it more in-depth. You can see some of the pix from our class in this EMRR Review.

I would recommend using some Quest plastic rockets for this class and a bulk pack of A8-3's or A6-4's. This will get each kid a rocket and likely 2 motors or maybe 3. It will maximise the fun while minimizing the time involved for building and flight prep. You can find the kits at Hobbylinc among many other places.

HTH,
Jason
 

Mike

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Originally posted by pjbatglen
I must admitt that I feel intimitated at the prospect of standing infront of a room full of kids. I fear that I might replace the Ben Stien as the yard stick to whitch all future bad teaches will be compared too.
The kids will think you're great coz you're talking about rockets and the teachers (if they're not enthralled by the rockets) will just understand your're not used to this and will just be glad they didn't have to plan this lesson!

Being confident is pretty important as your words are more lively and less boring for the kids. Try not let any nerves show, I've done a few speaking competitions and whilst doing my speach got even more nervous about how much my hand was shaking!

If you're really nervous about being infront of them try a bit of ice breaker exercise get to know their names etc, then when you move onto rockets you'll be more relaxed as you've been stood infront of them for a while.

Good luck!
 

jflis

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Interesting as I just did a class with Jim Salem last week. Age range: 8 - 48, about 12 students... :)

To adequately answer your questions, it would be good to know the model that you are going to use and the length of the class.

For a one class build of, say, 2 hours, with a typical FlisKits style rocket (where you have to glue on balsa fins), you could get the motor mount assembled, some other sub-assembly (say the parachute), the MMT installed (assuming it is dry) and one (maybe two) fins attached. That covers most of the assembly, then the student is off on their own to finish it.

If you are using a kit with a one piece fin unit, you should be able to get the entire kit built in less than 2 hours.

hope this helps!
jim
 

Pippen

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Argghhhh! I just wrote up some ideas and it got lost . I hate it when that happens... :mad:

I haven't taught a rocketry class and am kicking myself for not doing it with my own classes--they would have loved it, especially in spring when everything seems dull. But I do have a lot of teaching experience so you can take what follows however you want. :)

Here's a thread that might have some ideas for you:
http://rocketryforum.com/showthread.php?threadid=10371

If you are feeling really nervous about standing up in front of a group of kids one thing you might want to do is to do some introduction that is more comfortable for you than diving into theory or instruction. Showing them some of the cool rockets you have built might be good. Or show them some some short and very cool footage of a launch. I don't know what you might have or have available along those lines but there was an older PBS Nova about the history of space flight that my students really liked. Early on there is a segment about the space race where they show some failed big rockets plus a nun with her classroom launching a model rocket which explodes. I've shown this to about a zillion kids and it never fails to grab their attention.

One other thing to keep in mind when you are teaching theory is that kids will grasp what you are teaching much better if you can enhance your words. Explanation with diagram is good, explanation with demonstration is better, explanation with them participating is best of all. It's one thing to tell them that a rocket recoiling from the gas it ejects propels it forward, another to have them imagine a blown up balloon being let go, and yet another to give them each a balloon to let them see, feel, and hear it. I don't know exactly what you are covering but that's just an example of how hands on can make learning more meaningful.

Good luck, have fun, and let us know how it turns out. :)

Now I'm gonna push this button and see if it takes this time...
 

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