Growing up, rocketry always interested me as a young boy from the south side of Chicago. My family would always buy me little toy rockets, so I could dream about going into space and being the first person to land on Mars. While those dreams were a little far fetched, I believe we might have changed some of the students career paths with the Explore Technology program.

Dr. Judy Lubin came in the first day of our program and made a huge impact on the class! The kids were in awe about having the opportunity to go and launch two rockets. Several things that sparked my interest about the class were the basics of how she taught the class. Showing the kids the good and bad about rocketry also helped the kids understand that not every rocket that was built will launch successfully. When Dr. Lubin talked about her son and how he got started with rockets, that broke the ice for the kids to show them that age isn’t a factor when it comes to building rockets. One of the things that shocked the kids the most was a story Mrs. Judy told about her son in which he built a huge rocket and used a old retired motor from a several years ago as his main engine for lift off. Everything seemed in place for a successful launch; however, when it came time to launch the rocket, he failed. This was mainly important to show the kids that although all of the things were correct one small thing can malfunction and the entire project can be a no good.

The second most exciting thing about rocketry was the fifteen feet rocket that Mrs. Judy brought in for the students to get an idea of how big the rocket will be that they will be building. The students couldn’t stop talking about it when they were going to start their process of building their own rocket. They were so excited, in fact, that they wanted to skip the education and safety part about rockets and just get straight to building. Of course, proper safety was too important to pass up. Followed by viewing of the life size rocket were some educational, hands on activities that the kids enjoyed because it made them think.

Written by: Nigel Ray