Science project teaches Newton’s laws


Mitch Kindel and Dylan Andolsek named their rocket the El Diablo Chicken. “It’s a fighting awkward chicken, so we tried to be awkward,” said Andolsek.

Lindsay Gibson and Rebekah Arcuri dressed their bottle rocket in a hat and onesie and named it Larry.

After allowing each team to go once, Wilkosz began using the second launch pad to let students race rockets and see whose could go the highest and stay in the air longest.

Grace Broone, Meredith Becher, Savannah McKee, Rianna Rosecrans, and Lauren Gronsky make up the group that created the “Nerd Herd” bottle rocket for their end-of-the-year science project. “And the fun thing is you don’t need to know anything about aerodynamics,” said Rosecrans.

Eighth grade science teacher Matt Wilkosz sets up a rocket on the launch pad so he can use his air compressor to give the rocket the fuel it needs to fly.

A parachute that deploys as the rocket decends.

Photos by Kelsey Leyva | Wellington Enterprise Grace Broone, eighth-grader at McCormick Middle School, pulls the string to release the pressure and send her group’s rocket, the Nerd Herd, into the air.

Students look up as a rocket soars high than expected when Wilkosz goes from filling the bottles with 30 psi to about 50 psi.

Bottle rockets shot into the air Wednesday morning at the Wellington Dukes football field where all of Matt Wilkosz’s eighth grade science classes launched their projects.

“This is a fun end-of-the-year assignment,” said Wilkosz. “Just launching bottle rockets trying to get the one with the most hang time in the air, going back to Newtown’s three laws of motion.”

Wilkosz, who has been the eighth grade science teacher at McCorick for three years, said this is his third year doing the bottle rockets. They can be made with a two-liter bottle, cardboard, glue and duct tape.

The students filed their decorated bottles with up to 500 milliliters of water and 30 pounds per square inch of compressed air.

The goal was to show students how Newton’s laws work in real life.

“Newton’s Third Law, ‘Every action has an equal and opposite reaction,’ is the primary law that makes these fly,” said Wilkosz, who was pleased with the response from the students.

“I think everyone had fun. They learned a little bit from it,” he said.

Kelsey Leyva can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @TWE_KelseyLeyva on Twitter.