Students in Port Alberni launch for the stars

Students at John Howitt Elementary School in Port Alberni gathered on Thursday, May 13 to launch their rockets, built entirely from recycled materials. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)Students at John Howitt Elementary School in Port Alberni gathered on Thursday, May 13 to launch their rockets, built entirely from recycled materials. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
A rocket built by John Howitt students Devynn Holst and Kayla Best is launched on May 12, 2021. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)A rocket built by John Howitt students Devynn Holst and Kayla Best is launched on May 12, 2021. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
John Howitt teacher Lauraleah Jeffery catches a parachute on video after a rocket launch on May 13, 2021. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)John Howitt teacher Lauraleah Jeffery catches a parachute on video after a rocket launch on May 13, 2021. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Scott MacLeod prepares John Howitt students for the rocket launch. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)Scott MacLeod prepares John Howitt students for the rocket launch. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
LAUNCH DAY
Devynn Holst and Kayla Best, students at John Howitt Elementary School, show off their rocket after a successful launch on May 13, 2021. Read more about the John Howitt Rocketeers on page A5. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)LAUNCH DAY Devynn Holst and Kayla Best, students at John Howitt Elementary School, show off their rocket after a successful launch on May 13, 2021. Read more about the John Howitt Rocketeers on page A5. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

With the press of a button, a homemade rocket was launched hundreds of feet into the air above John Howitt Elementary School. Students cheered as they crouched behind a plywood board for safety—only to scatter as the tiny rocket came crashing down a few seconds later.

Students with the John Howitt Rocketeers program took turns launching their homemade rockets from the school’s top field on Thursday, May 13.

The Rocketeers program was started three years ago, after Applied Design, Skills and Technologies was added to BC’s curriculum.

“When Applied Design came into the curriculum, we had to think of new things to do,” explained Lauraleah Jeffery, a Grade 6 and 7 teacher at John Howitt.

In a normal year, students would cycle through the Rocketeers program. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, only one class is participating in the launch this year.

The Rocketeers program came from Scott MacLeod. MacLeod got the idea from his son, a former John Howitt student who recently graduated from the University of Victoria (UVic). MacLeod’s son was a member of the university’s rocket club, which designs and builds competitive sounding rockets. MacLeod started looking into ways this program could be implemented in elementary schools.

“I thought it might be something that would inspire students to get involved in engineering and science,” said MacLeod.

MacLeod comes to the school every year with a launch pad to help the rockets take off. As an RCMP constable, MacLeod doesn’t have a background in engineering, but he gained most of his knowledge of rockets from internet research and YouTube demonstrations.

The John Howitt students’ sounding or practice rockets are built entirely from recycled materials—things like cardstock, cardboard, shredded credit cards, plastic straws and grocery bags. Each of the rockets is installed with a real engine to send it flying into the air.

“They have to make a plan, decide on materials,” said Jeffery. “It’s all about the design procedure. The kids love it.”

The task, she said, is for the rocket to fly.

“If it doesn’t, we reflect at the end and talk about why it didn’t work,” said Jeffery.

This year’s Rocketeers program had some help from real-life scientists. Videos were sent to the students from NASA, UVic and McGill University, with scientists and science students wishing John Howitt good luck on their launch.

“Their careers all started from building these [rockets],” MacLeod told students on Thursday. “Keep it up, and one day you could be working for NASA.”



elena.rardon@albernivalleynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Port Alberni

Just Posted

Port Alberni court house (Alberni Valley News)
Coroners’ inquest into 2016 death of Port Alberni teen rescheduled for June 21

18-year-old Jocelyn George died of heart failure after spending time in jail cell

CELEBRATING IN STYLE
Members of the 2021 Alberni District Secondary School graduating class pose for a photo at McLean Mill National Historic Site on June 12. Graduates held their prom on Saturday, although things looked a little different due to COVID-19. See more on page A10. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Port Alberni 2021 grads celebrate prom with car cruise

Special event held at McLean Mill National Historic Site

The Port Alberni Bombers are one of the newest teams in the VIJHL. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Port Alberni Bombers to host first ID camp for roster spots

Roster spots for the Junior B team will be filled at the conclusion of the camp

Douglas Holmes, current Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District chief administrative officer, is set to take on that position at the Regional District of Nanaimo come late August. (Submitted photo)
Regional District of Nanaimo’s next CAO keen to work on building partnerships

Douglas Holmes to take over top administrator role with RDN this summer

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

Rick Ruppenthal of Saltair will host a 12-hour talk-a-thon Friday, June 18 over Facebook live. (Photo submitted)
Talk-a-thon to focus on men’s mental health issues

Island man spearheading a campaign to generate more conversation during fundraiser

Ivy was thrown out of a moving vehicle in Kelowna. Her tail was severely injured and will be amputated. (BC SPCA)
Kitten thrown from moving vehicle, needs help: Kelowna SPCA

The seven-month-old kitten had severe tail and femur injuries

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre estimates that less than five per cent of mass-marketing fraud is ever reported.
Tips to avoid scams targeting Vancouver Island seniors

In most cases, fraudsters impersonate an individual, business or agency seniors recognize and trust

Vancouver courthouse. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Man loses bid to appeal conviction for 1999 rape at Abbotsford music festival

James Redden, 53, formerly of Nanaimo, was found guilty in 2019 following six-day trial

A health-care worker holds up a sign signalling she needs more COVID-19 vaccines at the ‘hockey hub’ mass vaccination facility at the CAA Centre during the COVID-19 pandemic in Brampton, Ont., on Friday, June 4, 2021. This NHL-sized hockey rink is one of CanadaÕs largest vaccination centres. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
‘Vaxxed to the max’: Feds launch Ask an Expert campaign to encourage COVID shots

Survey shows that confidence in vaccines has risen this spring

Children’s shoes and flowers are shown after being placed outside the Ontario legislature in Toronto on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ontario commits $10 million to investigate burial sites at residential schools

Truth and Reconciliation Commission identified 12 locations of unmarked burial sites in Ontario

Singer-songwriter Jann Arden is pictured with a draft horse. (Canadian Horse Defence Coalition)
Jann Arden backs petition to stop ‘appalling’ live horse export, slaughter

June 14 is the International Day to End Live Export of Animals

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read