The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Elida students having a blast

And they're learning about physics and math


September 26, 2018

Courtesy photo: Jessica Faucett

Elida 11th-grader Ivan McCollum moments before launching a rocket into the sky on Tuesday.

"I'm a rocket man ... burning out his fuse up here alone." — Elton John, 'Rocket Man'

ELIDA — Today, Elida High School students will continue their work on a math and science project that would make Elton John proud.

Around 1 p.m. today by the baseball field, 11th-grade students will be launching rockets into the air for the second day in a row in order to analyze their flight path.

High school math teacher Jessica Faucett said the rocket project allows her students to practice their math skills outside of the classroom in a fun, non-traditional way.

"It gives them the hands-on (experience), they can see it in action as opposed to just reading it from a textbook and doing some problems," Faucett said.

She said the students launched about 10 rockets on Tuesday and plan to launch another four or so rockets today.

Faucett said this is the first year Elida students have worked on a rocket project like this. She said the idea came from a conference that Elida Superintendent Tandee Delk attended and the school then received a grant to partner with SystemsGo, a Texas-based program that provides the materials to make the rockets.

Made of a cardboard body tube, the students have to build an engine capable of launching the rocket into the sky and a recovery system such as a parachute in order to bring it back down.

Faucett said the students then record a video of the rocket's launch and will spend the coming weeks analyzing the recording in order to determine how to more effectively and predictably launch the rockets.

"The kids worked really hard and they've learned a lot of physics and math and it's been a really hard nine weeks leading up to this so it was really fun for them to get the reward to be able to launch," Faucett said. "It was a blast (Tuesday). Just lots of laughing, it was just a good time."

She said this week's launches are building up to two more in Elida this fall before a big launch to be held in Jal this spring that will include other New Mexico and west Texas schools.

The goal at that launch will be to build an 8- to 9-feet tall rocket capable of carrying a one-pound payload and accurately launching one mile into the sky.

Faucett said anybody is welcome to come attend today's launches, which are weather permitting.

An email from secretary Becky Turnbow to The News said that means winds lower than 20 mph and no low clouds.


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