Launching In Third Term: Radical Rockets

Friday, June 30, 2017 - By: Gina Barale, Mackenzie ‘17

After 19 months of straight, gruelling chemistry, learning first-year university concepts and challenging the extreme AP exam in May,  the AP Chemistry 12 class decided to let loose a little. For most of the month of May and the beginning of June, we took on the challenge of building high-powered model rockets. The task was first met with much excitement; we would be able to get hands on and build something that would, hopefully, soar hundreds of feet into the air, and yes, explosives would be involved. 

When the rocket kits arrived, most of the students furrowed their brows at the vague instructions and complicated terminology. What is a launch lug? A shock cord? A engine mount spacer? Accidents included but were not limited to several stuck-together fingers, inhaling slightly toxic paint fumes, and, yes, six stitches. The students built and collaborated, sanded and painted, and after weeks of hard work, each team of two completed a rocket and were ready for launch.  

It was a beautifully clear and sunny day on campus, a perfect day to light gunpowder under super-glued pieces of aerodynamic cardboard! Each rocket pairing penned a poem to serenade the rockets into space, and then launched their missile into the air. Despite some initial challenges, almost all had success: all ended up in the air. Some parachutes deployed and others didn’t, but it was a fun and rewarding experience for future science and engineering students. 

Gina Barale, Mackenzie ‘17

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