Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Rocket Story

So, Levi was selected to go to the Ohio State Fair with his "Rockets Away!" 4-H project. We're excited for him to have the experience!
I am admitting that, given the amount of time dedicated to the "presentation" or "decoration" of the rocket, I was very skeptical about any kind of award beyond an "A" ribbon. Levi kept telling me, "It's fine, mom". Somehow, I just wasn't sure the judges would appreciate the aesthetic qualities of duct tape as much as he and his father.
Of course, as it usually is when it comes to all things engineering-related, I was proven wrong. It's not that the rocket was sharp-looking in any sense, but I think the fact that Levi knew what he was talking about, had built the rocket(s), had built a launcher with Eric, and understood the science behind it all counted for a lot. The clincher, though? I can't say for sure, but my guess it was the story and documentation of the final test launches (done 2 days before judging, resulting in the need to completely rebuild a new rocket -- see picture). In the book, the requirement was just to document the height and velocity from launches with different amount of water and/or pressure. Levi and Eric decided, after 8 adventurous launches in 90-degree heat and humidity that ended with Mom running to the store for more 2-liters, that the judges should see exactly what had happened. I'll let the spreadsheet "notes" section speak for itself!


Anonymous said...

Levi -- GReat job -- details are the clincher...!!

Have fun at the State Fair..!

auntie n

Anonymous said...

This is fantastic. Truly. (Their work and yours, Heather). I'm sorry to have come to it so late. A couple of questions: To what/whom does "out of control" refer?? And how did the fellas record speed? Congrats all the way around and best always, Tim Swensen

Heather said...

Tim -- I just found your comment! Thanks for the kind words. If I remember correctly, "out of control" meant it did NOT go up, but at some crazy angles. And they calculated speed with some formula that included counting how long (in sec) from launch to it hitting the ground (that's the non-technical explanation; or as Eric might say, the "non-Purdue" explanation:). A great experience all around!