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Park City Academy shoot for the stars

Frank Fisher, Of the Record staff
Park City Academy after-school science students watch their rockets in flight, assisted by parent Alfred Lutter.
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On a crisp October Monday, Peggy Fadling and her after-school Park City Academy science class marched, skipped and romped up the grass slope onto the flats of Pinebrook Park. They were accompanied by several parents carrying boxes of rockets and launchers. The students sought to test the rockets they had built and see if Sir Isaac Newton’s laws were for real.

Students had worked on their spacecraft one day per week for five weeks, in this after-school science activity. In every session, Fadling helped students assemble a new part of the rocket kit, as she launched into the basic theory of rocket flight.

"We stuck our noses in every now and then to check on the progress of their rockets," parent Murray Gardner said of himself and his wife. They have two children attending Park City Academy who took part in the after-school science project.

"It went higher than I thought," Park City Academy first-grade student Avery Lutter said. She had just pushed the button to launch her rocket after a joint kid /parent countdown. Lutter spoke of building the rockets, but forgot exactly what the fins were for. If she had it to do over again, she said she might have painted her yellow rocket blue, her favorite color.

The rockets came in kit form, and were powered by a solid propellant that proved Newton’s theory correct, with an opposite reaction to the propellant’s action that took the rockets about 500 feet skyward.

If there was a glitch in the spaceflights, it was the parachutes that popped out but failed to fully deploy.

"Maybe they needed bigger parachutes," Fadling said. No doubt the afternoon will be relived in the classroom before it is on to the next project.


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