St Patrick’s College students launch home-made rockets for science at Bridgenorth Oval

AIM HIGH: Science teacher Jacob Williard helps to prepare a rocket for firing. Picture: Phillip Biggs
AIM HIGH: Science teacher Jacob Williard helps to prepare a rocket for firing. Picture: Phillip Biggs

Put away Google and figure it out yourself.

That was the challenge for St Patrick’s College grade 10 students tasked with creating hobby-sized rockets for science and engineering this year.

The students tried out their rockets at Bridgenorth Oval on Tuesday after months of research, preparation and creation.

Science teacher Jacob Willard said the year’s learning had been focused on “obscure theories” that couldn’t be figured out with the help of a smartphone, so students had to think proactively through problem-solving and work with their hands to make the rockets.

The program prioritised safety, with all the rockets tested through wind tunnels and ground-level engine burn safety tests before the launch.

“[It’s about] trying to get this generation of kids to solve a problem without the use of Google,” Mr Willard said.

“They’re hobby-model rockets … we do go a little bit obscure with some of them, we do encourage out-of-the-box thinking.”

Creative thinking meant some students crafted rockets that would spin rather than firing straight into the air, or deploy helicopter blades rather than a parachute for a safe landing.

With their individual rockets lined up and ready to launch, students cheered their creations into the air.

A few rockets had miniature cameras attached with the hope of collecting spectacular footage.

Mr Willard said the support of Bridgenorth Football Club and West Tamar Council had been invaluable in ensuring they could fire the rockets, with clearance from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.