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Saline Kids Have a Blast at Back-to-School Launch Event

A little instruction led to a fun day for 89 kids who shot rockets into the air.

As summer vacation nears the end, nearly 90 students came back to school Wednesday to launch some rockets.

Liberty School hosted “Back-to-School Launch” to offer local children a chance to have a blast launching 2-liter bottles using water and compressed air to send their personally designed rockets into space. The event was part of a two-day series for the kids to have some fun and work together.

Jen Barnard, Saline Community Education Program Specialist for Child Care Services, coordinated the event. It was designed to get students excited about going back to school, which begins Sept. 4. The event also involved the elementary school principals who have been working all summer, she said.

She credits Principal Les Sharon with the idea.

“(He) came to me and said ‘let’s do a really fun activity in aerodynamics, lets’ do rockets’,” she said. “And I said I’m on board.

From there Barnard brought in the other principals and designed the all-day activity to include science and fun.

The idea came after Sharon and Barnard met in February looking for something to with the kids, Sharon said. Barnard bought all the equipment and Sharon said he showed up for the event.

The children spent the morning in mixed-age groups where fourth-graders worked with kindergartners, she said. The students designed their rockets and came up with names for them.

“That worked really well,” Barnard said. “It’s going really awesome.”

The children got a brief lesson on aerodynamics from Sharon, who said the day was mostly for fun. After lunch they headed out to Crabtree Field and fired their rockets off on the west end of the field.

“I think fun was first,” Sharon said about his approach. “Mildly educational, but a ton of fun.”

The process involves filling the bottles a third full with water and then using compressed air to give the boost. The kids would a string and the rocket would shoot upwards. The water is ejected from the bottles as they soar into the air. Some made it as far as the 20-yard line and some made it to the roof of a building by the field.

Woodland Meadows Principal Michelle Szczechowicz found the day to be a lot fun.

“This is a beautiful day for rocket launching.” she said. “Seeing the kids so proud of what they have built and what they have learned, it’s really exciting.”

As the rockets went off the other kids tried to catch them in mid-air as they fell. The others were just enjoying the day.

Barnard said the event would be back next year. Thursday, 100 students are expected to build towers made of gum drops and spaghetti. That event runs from 9 a.m.  to 11 a.m.

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