Last week, Lausanne's fourth-grade scientists hosted their annual rocket launch, an interactive project that gives students the opportunity to test the hand-made spacecraft they created in correlation with their PYP curriculum.
Leading up to the big day, Lower School science teacher Dr. Frassinelli stopped by to present a brief background of Sir Issac Newton & asked the fourth-graders to analyze what the famous scientist meant when he said: "I have been like a boy on the seashore, gazing out over the large ocean, lucky enough to find a prettier shell."
Many of the students' answers had to do with "discovery" and how Newton knew he was fortunate to make so many wonderful discoveries in his life, including new understandings of light, color, motion, gravity and mathematics.
"We discussed Newton and his famous Third Law of Motion: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction," said Dr. Frassinelli. "With our rockets, the action is the hot gas escaping out the back of the rocket. The reaction is the rocket's travel forward. Action & reaction seem to be universal laws on many levels. To me, it ranks right up there with reaping and sowing."
Under their homeroom teachers' direction, the students spent several days assembling their rockets and decorating them to reflect their unique design goals.
Once students completed their rockets and better understood the physics behind their creation, they were ready for take-off. To track the success of each rocket's launch, students paired up and used a divide and conquer approach. One student clicked the button that set off the rocket while their partner used a hand-held instrument called an inclinometer to "sight" the rocket's angle and record when the rocket reached its highest point in the flight. Students then used multiplication and division and the measured angle to determine the rockets' altitudes.
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