PRESS RELEASE: Nov. 14, 2012
NIMS MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS BLAST OFF WATER ROCKETS WITH DEP LIFE PROGRAM, FAMU
~Tallahassee middle school students launch water rockets with FAMU Rocket Club~
Students at R. Frank Nims Middle School team up to construct rockets.
TALLAHASSEE – On Nov. 13 and 14, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Learning In Florida's Environment Program visited R. Frank Nims Middle School for a two-day rocket design, assembly and launch activity with the support of the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University's Rocket Club.
After learning about the basics of rocketry, Nims students spent most of the first day discussing and debating different designs for their water rockets. The basic design consists of 2-liter water bottles, with students augmenting various paper and cardboard attachments to find the perfect balance of stability and weight.
"Hands on learning is what the LIFE Program is all about," said Greg Ira, the Department's Office of Environmental Education Director. "Giving these students an opportunity to look up from the text book and get outside to experiment is the kind of activity that inspires the next generation of scientists and engineers."
The weather on launch day was overcast and would have likely delayed a space shuttle launch, but students at Nims were not deterred. After making final adjustments to their designs, the rockets were attached to the launching pad in preparation for lift-off. The rockets are propelled into the sky by small amounts of water that have been put under immense pressure by pumping air into the bottle until all of the energy explodes out the nozzle, sending the rocket flying into the air.
Members of the FAMU Diamondback Rocket Club were on hand to assist the middle school students in their design and launch process.
"We feel like we need to instill our knowledge in the upcoming generation," said FAMU Computer Science major Rodney Wilson. "These kids are the future and we need to engage them in science."
FAMU students volunteered both days to be involved with this middle school program. In May, the FAMU Diamondback Rocket Club launched its own rocket more than 5,200 feet into the air, taking first prize in the NASA University Student Launch Initiative competition.
The LIFE Program is designed to create moments where a young learner will have a powerful memory to look back upon when making future academic and career choices. Recently, the state of Florida has been increasing focus and exposure on STEM - Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics - and activities such as the water rocket challenge is one of the many ways the Department, along with other state agencies, is encouraging our youth to seek out careers in one of these four major fields of study. To learn more about the STEM initiatives throughout the state, visit http://floridalearnsstemscholars.org