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conwayte

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Hi all,
Our school district hosts a girl's STEM Camp each summer. This year as the teachers who run it were brainstorming the activities, I mentioned that I would be happy to do some rocketry with the kids. So....today I helped 30 3rd-6th grade girls build rockets. I thought I'd post this here in case anyone else has done this and for anyone who might have the opportunity in the future--it was a lot of fun!

I started out showing a couple news clips of all-girl TARC teams--very good role models for a group of young girls. Then I went on to a slide show explaining some basic principles of rocketry while quizzing the kids on what was presented.

We built the Estes Alpha--purchased in bulk from AC Supply (they accept POs from schools and their prices are pretty darn competitive). I built one ahead of time and modified the instructions to what I thought would be a bit more efficient way to do a build in one 2 hour session--if anyone is interested I can post them here, it worked out pretty well. I did go through each kit and marked the fin/lug lines, popped out the plastic tab in the nose cone, and pre-slit the motor mount tube for the motor hook. That took a bit of time but was definitely worth it in this case.

It was helpful (read "necessary") to have a couple of high school students along with the 2 teachers to wander around and help students as we went through the build steps. I don't think I'd do this with this large a group without at least a couple of helpers. As it was, I demonstrated step by step each step of they way and kept the group together as we moved on through.

Probably the biggest issue we ran into was kids using too much glue for the fins (been down that road with kids before). Other than that--wow, what a sharp bunch!

I'd love to hear from others who have done this to learn what tips and tricks you've come up with. I can definitely see myself doing this more in the future.
Tim

IMG_20170621_132827849.jpg
 

Zeus-cat

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I've done about 20 build events and it sounds like you did everything right. Several helpers helps tremendously as kids (of all ages) really like to slop the glue on if they haven't worked with glue before. If a little is good, a lot must be great!

I show them the double gluing method; most people seem to get it, but there's always a few kids/adults that still slop the glue on no matter what you say.

I think it is important to have the kids do most of the work. I've seen parents do nearly everything for the kid and the kid gets frustrated. I'm torn on letting kids use X-acto knives. Its good for them to learn to use them, but I could see a parent throwing a hissy fit if someone got cut or poked. If you do let them use a knife you do one per table and the helper watches each kid use it and stops them if they even look like they will do something stupid or wrong.

In a few weeks my club is off to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force for a build and fly event. The public gets an opportunity to build a rocket and launch it on the grounds of the museum. We will have 500 rockets on hand and they will be built and launched in 5 or 6 hours. We will be hopping!
 

cbrarick

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Cool I sponsor a YMCA rocket camp. It's cool to go and fly with them. Their field works well with a Applewhite saucer and a Loki G69 skid.
 
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conwayte

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I've done about 20 build events and it sounds like you did everything right. Several helpers helps tremendously as kids (of all ages) really like to slop the glue on if they haven't worked with glue before. If a little is good, a lot must be great!

I show them the double gluing method; most people seem to get it, but there's always a few kids/adults that still slop the glue on no matter what you say.

I think it is important to have the kids do most of the work. I've seen parents do nearly everything for the kid and the kid gets frustrated. I'm torn on letting kids use X-acto knives. Its good for them to learn to use them, but I could see a parent throwing a hissy fit if someone got cut or poked. If you do let them use a knife you do one per table and the helper watches each kid use it and stops them if they even look like they will do something stupid or wrong.

In a few weeks my club is off to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force for a build and fly event. The public gets an opportunity to build a rocket and launch it on the grounds of the museum. We will have 500 rockets on hand and they will be built and launched in 5 or 6 hours. We will be hopping!
500 rockets--holy cow! That is an impressive piece of outreach!
I went back and forth with myself on how much to do before hand. It ultimately came down to just wanting this to go as smoothly as possible and the X-acto work on the nose cones can get a little tricky. In hindsight, working with a nice scripted plan was a huge benefit and I think it would have worked out pretty well to let the kids do everything as long as I am able to make sure my helpers know about the proper and safe use of the equipment I think it would work out nicely.

It's funny you mention the double gluing method. By the time we got to the 2nd and 3rd fin I was going to each group to demonstrate. They were amazed at how well it worked. I was using Elmer's Wood Glue and it tacks up pretty quickly. On the other side of that coin--we talked about how a tiny bit of extra glue on the motor adapter ring can help it slide in without seizing up.
Tim
 

conwayte

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Cool I sponsor a YMCA rocket camp. It's cool to go and fly with them. Their field works well with a Applewhite saucer and a Loki G69 skid.
Nice! I'll bet the saucer with the Loki skid really gets them fired up! What rockets do you use with the YMCA kids? The Alpha has been around forever and is a proven kit. I've used the BMS School Rocket with smaller groups and that's a pretty nifty kit as well. I may try that one with my next large group.
Tim
 

conwayte

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Got all 30 rockets launched and recovered today. Had to play the 15mph wind by setting up in the very edge of the school practice field and the kids got some exercise chasing their rockets down!
 

Zeus-cat

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Good job!

I forgot to mention, at these group build and fly events we usually use A8-3 motors, but sometimes we slip a B6 or even a C6 into a rocket just to surprise people. :kill: Sure gets the crowd fired up. We usually do it near the end so everyone doesn't want to use a big motor. Anyway, the club should have 10-12 people or even more for the 500 rocket event, so we stay busy, but not overwhelmed. I recently did several classes of about 20 high school kids each and that kept me hopping.
 

dhbarr

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If a c6-5 works, a d21-7 should as well :-D
 

conwayte

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Good job!

I forgot to mention, at these group build and fly events we usually use A8-3 motors, but sometimes we slip a B6 or even a C6 into a rocket just to surprise people. :kill: Sure gets the crowd fired up. We usually do it near the end so everyone doesn't want to use a big motor. Anyway, the club should have 10-12 people or even more for the 500 rocket event, so we stay busy, but not overwhelmed. I recently did several classes of about 20 high school kids each and that kept me hopping.
Ha! I'll bet that does surprise folks! Curious what kits you use in your build sessions?
 

BEC

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Hi all,
I built one ahead of time and modified the instructions to what I thought would be a bit more efficient way to do a build in one 2 hour session--if anyone is interested I can post them here, it worked out pretty well. I did go through each kit and marked the fin/lug lines, popped out the plastic tab in the nose cone, and pre-slit the motor mount tube for the motor hook. That took a bit of time but was definitely worth it in this case.
I'm on the hook to do something like this in September at the Museum of Flight - and we're doing Alphas because it's their 50th year. I've been thinking along the same lines and would love to see your plan. We've been allocated, I think, 1 1/2 hour sessions with up to 30 in each session.

One thing I am likely to use is Qualman Rocketry fin jigs to help get them perpendicular to the body.

When we do Make It - Take It kits in an hour, another prep thing I do is print up and precut shock cord mounts so that we don't need scissors either.
 

Stable1

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Here's our latest video from the 2017 Stoker Elementary launch. Every year, just before schools lets out, Tripoli Wisconsin helps the 2nd grades build and launch model rockets. We all had just as much fun as the kids.

[video=youtube;85THDDmRLas]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85THDDmRLas[/video]
 

RocketDestroyer

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Fantastic video. Loved the animation at the start and the music. It really looked like the kids had a great time.
 

conwayte

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Here's our latest video from the 2017 Stoker Elementary launch. Every year, just before schools lets out, Tripoli Wisconsin helps the 2nd grades build and launch model rockets. We all had just as much fun as the kids.

Wow--that was really, really great! I absolutely love the quote at the end, perfect. It's so cool to see how excited the kids get. Thanks for sharing that.
Tim
 

conwayte

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I'm on the hook to do something like this in September at the Museum of Flight - and we're doing Alphas because it's their 50th year. I've been thinking along the same lines and would love to see your plan. We've been allocated, I think, 1 1/2 hour sessions with up to 30 in each session.

One thing I am likely to use is Qualman Rocketry fin jigs to help get them perpendicular to the body.

When we do Make It - Take It kits in an hour, another prep thing I do is print up and precut shock cord mounts so that we don't need scissors either.
I think anything to help with the fin process would be a good idea--on any group builds I've done they always present the most challenges. I'm attaching the build steps I came up with--nothing terribly innovative, just tried to keep things moving along. View attachment EstesAlphaBuildSteps.pdf
 

Zeus-cat

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Ha! I'll bet that does surprise folks! Curious what kits you use in your build sessions?
We use Alphas or something very similar. I'm not in charge of procurement. I just shows up and does what I'm told (just like at home). :wink:
 

BEC

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I think anything to help with the fin process would be a good idea--on any group builds I've done they always present the most challenges. I'm attaching the build steps I came up with--nothing terribly innovative, just tried to keep things moving along. View attachment 322761
Thanks. Usually when I do group builds I do short presentations while subassemblies are drying (history, how model rockets work, stuff about motors and what the numbers mean, etc.) but your idea of interspersing the other subassemblies in between installation of each fin makes sense, too. Something for me to think about.

Here's the fin guides I think I'm going to get the Museum to get. https://www.qualmanrocketry.com/Class_Packs.html Of course for the Alpha that's BT-50, three fins, 3/32 thick - about the 10th one down the page.
 

conwayte

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Thanks. Usually when I do group builds I do short presentations while subassemblies are drying (history, how model rockets work, stuff about motors and what the numbers mean, etc.) but your idea of interspersing the other subassemblies in between installation of each fin makes sense, too. Something for me to think about.

Here's the fin guides I think I'm going to get the Museum to get. https://www.qualmanrocketry.com/Class_Packs.html Of course for the Alpha that's BT-50, three fins, 3/32 thick - about the 10th one down the page.
How did I not know about Qualman before?! Thanks for sharing that site, I'm going to order some of those to check out.
 
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