Bishop Ryan eighth-grader Casy Charley watched with bated breath as her science teacher, JoAnn Schapp, set her model rocket on the launch pad and pushed the ignition button.
Schapp readjusted the rocket and pushed the button again.
Andrea Johnson/MDN - - Teacher JoAnn Schapp prepares a launch attempt for a miniature rocket as eighth-grader Olivia Christmas looks on.
Andrea Johnson/MDN - - Ryan eighth-graders run back to their class waving a parachute deployed after the successful launch of a miniature rocket.
Andrea Johnson/MDN - - Science teacher JoAnn Schapp, left, talks with eighth-grader Casy Charley about why her rocket didn’t launch.
Andrea Johnson/MDN - - Eighth graders from JoAnn Schapp’s earth science class at Bishop Ryan High School hold their miniature rockets last week on Hogan Field.
Schapp called for another rocket and Casy retrieved the dud. "Oh, my beautiful rocket," Casy moaned.
Earlier, Casy's classmate Olivia Christmas had also watched her rocket fail to launch.
Out of five launch attempts early in the class period, three rocketed off the launch pad, shooting high into the sky as the eighth-graders cheered and strained their eyes to see them. Kids raced across the Hogan Football Field to catch the parachute that came floating down and came running back, waving their prize in triumph.
Schapp said the rockets failed to launch for different reasons. In some cases, the miniature igniter was faulty and needed to be replaced with another one. In others, the kids had failed to install one of the components correctly. Schapp pointed out to the kids that the rockets that NASA launches don't always get off the ground either.
Schapp has been doing the rocket launches with her eighth grade earth science classes for a number of years as part of a unit on astronomy. The kids build the rockets using miniature rocket kits or from scratch. The students also did calculations to estimated how high the rocket traveled into the sky.
The kids said they enjoyed the hands-on lessons.