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Students shoot for the stars

Copperas Cove elementary students are blasting off their creations shooting for the moon and landing among the stars. Fairview/Miss Jewell Elementary School’s sport rocketry club has a dozen 5th graders not only building their own rockets but inserting motors and shooting them hundreds of feet into the sky on the back playground of the school thanks to a grant from the Copperas Cove Education Foundation. Of the dozen students in the class, only two are girls including Mikayla Sheon who says the class is not just for boys. “I love it actually. I have always been interested in long things that go bang,” she said emphatically. “I like decorating the rocket and then launching it because it goes really high.” Club Adviser Jeffery Shores has the students build the rockets out of lightweight but sturdy cardboard tubes adding fins and a nose cone. The rockets are decorated to reflect the students’ personalities with one including symbols from the popular game Minecraft, another with feminine pink designs and a third to represent a real-life rocket at NASA. Tiny motors are placed inside the rockets to propel them from the launch pad. Aviere James placed his rocket on the launch pad and watched it shoot so high in the air that it trailed out of sight. “I think I am going to do five fins next time,” he told Shores. “Okay, but remember, there is more of drag with that,” Shores responded. Through the science club, hands-on experiments are conducted and students are forced to find solutions meeting requirements through Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills. With each rocket being placed on the launching pad, it is apparent that safety is of the utmost concern. Before the first rocket was launched, Shores instructed the students to move away from the launch pad a minimum of 15 feet. In their excitement, students stepped back. But, it was not far enough for Shores to have a comfort level for their safety. “Step back until I tell you you’ve gone far enough,” he said gesturing to the students. After each student placed his rocket on the launch pad, he picked up a blue key box. Shores squatted down to launch the rocket asking the same question time after time. “The key is out, right?” he asked before proceeding with the launch. “I don’t want to get blasted.” Finally, with the all clear and ready to launch sign from Shores, the students inserted the key into the blue box, turned it and shot their rockets off one by one. They watched them high into the sky shrieking with excitement and then running across the playground to retrieve them as they came down. One landed in a tree and could not be reached. “We’ve lost three rockets on the roof. I’ve got to go get those,” Shores said smiling.

Copperas Cove Leader Press

2210 U.S. 190
Copperas Cove, TX 76522
Phone:(254) 547-4207