Houghton Elementary School fifth graders enjoy school tradition of launching toy rockets

The students worked for three weeks constructing their rockets for launch, installing motors and ignitors before launching them into the air.
Published: Jun. 1, 2023 at 7:06 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

HANCOCK, Mich. (WLUC) - Today, 120 fifth-grade students from Houghton Elementary School launched their own hand-built rockets into the sky.

5th Grade Teacher Dan Pertile, who organizes the activity, says this is part of a decades-long tradition at the school.

“This was just something that I picked up from a teacher years ago, Barb Fisher, way back in the day of 25, 26 years ago,” said Pertile. “She did this and kinda passed it along to me, and I’ve just kinda kept it going from there.”

Pertile says students have been working on them between recess and class over the past three weeks. Fifth Grader Ellie Young explains the process of building them.

“It started off with our rockets in a package,” said Young. “And we started building them. Just yesterday we added the motor, and today we’re going to add the ignitor, and then we’re going to launch them.”

Some students enlisted help from friends.

“Building the rocket at first was pretty simple,” said Suvie Ten. “But then I went on a vacation, and I missed a few days of building it so, it was kind of hard for me to catch up.” “Yeah, I kind of did a few steps with your rocket, a little bit,” added Abby Carlson.

Once prepared, the students themselves use an electric-controlled launcher to fire off the rocket. A parachute in the cone opens up in midair, allowing the rocket to float back to the ground.

Some students had mixed feelings about how their launches went.

“I felt relieved that it launched and that it came down on the ground,” said Morgan Vandiver.

“I was a little worried because I didn’t see the parachute open, and it didn’t open.” Olivia Niemi.

“I was really excited,” added Ryan Anderson. “I mean, I had wet fins that I had just glued, and it worked perfectly.”

And still, others were worried about losing their rockets as it floated to the ground.

“I was scared my own was going to go up, and I wouldn’t be able to find it,” said Laila Kerttu.

“I was nervous because I thought my parachute wouldn’t open,” said Zoey Spruce. “And I thought it was going to get stuck in a tree or something.”

The rocket launches began at 11 a.m. and wrapped up around 2 p.m.