APS Joins NM Centennial Celebration’s Rocket Launch
100 schools launched 100 rockets in unison on International Space Station countdown.
October 16, 2012
It was over in an instant, but well worth it.
Students at 100 schools around New Mexico launched rockets as part of the state’s ongoing New Mexico Centennial celebration. Students assembled the 42-inch rockets from kits.
All rockets took off in the same moment, as radio stations around the state broadcast a countdown recorded by scientists aboard the International Space Station. The crew was expected to attempt to take a photo from space as the rockets flew about 1,000 feet in the air.
Gary Bodman’s science classes at Madison Middle School launched their rocket along with the Rio Grande Enrichment Studies school. Both took off perfectly and their parachutes opened on the way down. The wind took one of them onto Madison’s roof, while the other landed across the street from the school.
Bodman said his students spent about a week assembling the rocket, but that they have been studying related lessons much of the school year. They learned about Newton’s 3rd Law of action and reaction. They also watched the film October Sky that covered the history of rocket science and pursuing one’s dreams. New Mexico has a rich history in rocketry.
“Anytime you can bring in another source for a lesson, it exponentially raises (students’) understanding of the material,” Bodman said.
The project also commemorated the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 17 space mission. It was made possible with the support of the New Mexico Centennial Foundation, the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, PNM Resources and NASA.
“As an educator, to be involved in a project with the state and NASA, while the International Space Station observed, is just amazing,” Bodman said.
Besides Madison, other APS schools that had signed up to participate included Albuquerque and West Mesa high schools; Cleveland, Eisenhower and Jimmy Carter middle schools; and Griego, Georgia O’Keeffe, Tierra Antigua, Sandia Base and Dennis Chavez elementaries.