Rookies To Rocketeers Part 1 &2

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Jan 18, 2009
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This past weekend May 29th and 31st. two four classes were held at my church a Model Rocketry Youth Group composed of boys and girls ages 11 to 16 . Day one was a movie LDRS Rocket Challenge and book work Rocket componets , recovery systems NAR safety code, Motor functions ,igniters , Launch Pad , Launch Day, Rocket Fight Demos. We launched a Snitch and a Qubits on B6-0 and A10-pt.
Day 2 We went over material from day 1 then on to building rockets . Estes Skywriter and Gnome Both rockets were completed in less than three hours.
On problem I ran into was kids do not know how to listen and follow oral or written instructions so I gave the kids a test on this very subject I found this test on the net simalar to one I had taken in High School. you know read all instructions before you begin this test. Bottom line was sign name turn paper over and your done. I did this test to prove a point ... If you do not follow instructions your rocket will not fly on launch day there are no replacememt rockets. I had two :) A few pic of kids with finished rockets Launch Day Is June 5th. More to follow.

Ahh, the old test where the last question says not to answer any other questions and just to turn in the paper... I got a 100 on that test when I got in in high school, then again in college :D

Good luck on the flights, what engines are they going to use?
Originally posted by johnnwwa
kids do not know how to listen and follow oral or written instructions

If I had a nickel for every time some kid . . .

You may as well forget about trusting the little darlings to follow directions, they are too excited about building, and they want to show off in front of their friends. I have found on average about one in four kids has any experience with modrocs, and of those, about one in ten or twenty can build a modroc correctly by themself.

The rest you are just going to have to keep watch over their shoulder. Watch out for assembly/installation confusion with Estes-style folded shock cord anchors, they tend to go right inside the front lip of the BT.

Fin attachment is an adventure/horror to behold, especially when the fins are separate pieces and are not kitted as a fin-can (Alpha III-style). You are going to have to show them how to double-glue, how to wait, and how to fillet LIGHTLY (don't ever tell a kid to put lots of glue on anything).

The rewards, however, are tremendous. When their rockets fly they get very excited----I have never seen a single kid from any class fail to get at least a little goofy over seeing his rocket launched.
having done hundreds of classes with all age groups I know what you're talking about :)

What I found that works best is to emphasize the need to read the instructions, then I go through each step by reading the instruction aloud.

When I perform the step, I stand with my *back* to the class and hold the parts in the air as I assemble it. This gives them the same view of *my* assembly as they will have of theirs. If I'm facing them, they get a reverse view and it confuses them.

I also make a point of never completing a build in the one class. I *want* the kids to bring the kit home to finish it. I make sure that we complete all of the most complicated steps and make sure that we *discuss* all of the remaining steps, but I find it is best for them to do some of the assembly on their own (with friends, parents or siblings helping). It is best to not have each step spoon fed to them (IMHO).

great fun though, isn't it?? :)
Your both right I found out conducting the class and modroc build to be both a challenge to me and the kids .But I was prepared . some of the kids are mentally challenged ,on meds. or just plain hyper. but having said that the rewards were worth every minute. Trying to drive home the fact that a safe launch is paramont was a challenge . the kids wanted to push the button to launch their own rocket .NO was my answer and then I explained again the safety issues . I found out real early in the class to maintain control you have to be firm ,draw a line so to speak and not give in . We all know ,give and inch they 'll take a yard . So I'm looking forward to launch day with high expectations for these kids.
A note as the class ended on Monday one girl was hounding her mother for more work at home to earn money to buy rockets:D
I see rockets in this girls future.......