Budding rocket scientists gathered at Tydeman Park in Pocatello this weekend to hone their skills.
“The secret is that you have to like put the clay in the top and you tape it to make sure it goes all straight,” instructed Madilyn Ward, a 6 year old rocket engineer.
The second annual Water Rocket Festival that the Idaho State University physics program puts on made quite a splash this weekend, teaching the kids some key scientific principles like, “Inertia, angular momentum, rotational inertia,” according to Dr. Steve Shropshire, physics professor, but letting them have a blast while they do it.
“You see the sciences, and physics in particular, are a little bit on the tough side and we don’t want kids to get discouraged by that. And hopefully, well the more folks we have going into those fields the better off we are as a society,” added Dr. Shropshire.
Thanks to the volunteers from ISU’s physics department, each participant is taught by a student a few of Newton’s laws and the basic science behind building a really good water rocket. The kids pick up on a few engineering tricks and gain a better understanding of physics, but can do so in a creative way that still allows them to have a little fun.
“Then there’s little drawings on the side… makes it go faster,” said Madilyn Ward of her masterpiece.
The rookie rocketeers competed to see which rocket flew the farthest, made a few changes, and tried again. But no matter the different design styles, there is one tried and true trick to having the best possible shot:
“Make sure that it does not fall apart when it’s flying,” said Madilyn.
ISU’s physics department supplied the materials for about 200 kids to come try their hand at rocket construction, and all were made out of empty plastic bottles, tape, some wooden rods, and a little bit of clay.