I can tell you with 100% confidence that model rocketry mimics the real space industry to incredible detail. I've been there, so I know.
But unfortunately, what I've seen taught in most school rocketry programs is just a shadow of what is actually possible. Teachers need to know what a valuable tool model rocketry is, and how they can use it to excite and motivate students to learn. And not just science and mathematics -- because "space" touches nearly every aspect of our lives. This includes non-typical subjects such as music, literature, politics, and geography. If you don't believe me,
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One thing that disappoints me to no end is to hear some teachers talk about their rocketry experience. Often, the actual rocket launch is the culmination of a week of study done at the end of the school year. Does NASA do this? NO! The rocket launch is only the beginning. The real work begins once the rocket lifts off. This should be the same philosophy used in school programs.
Personally, I don't believe that "Rocketry" (or Rocket Science) is a subject that should be studied like mathematics. Rocketry is only just a "tool." We use it to accomplish other goals. Again, this mimics what NASA does with the real space program. They don't just go out and launch rockets -- they use rockets as a tool to place objects into space. Otherwise, they would be just expensive fireworks.
But to use this fascinating tool to teach other subjects, we need to understand what rockets are, and how they operate. This is laid in the foundation of other subjects like mathematics, electronics, aeronautics, and physics. All put together, we have "rocket science."
There is a major difference between this web site and other rocket education sites. Most all other rocket education sites eventually point teachers to the NASA rocketry site. I'm unimpressed with the NASA sites. What I don't like, is that NASA doesn't really actively support the use of solid propellant model rockets in their lesson plans. At this site, that is all we do. Rockets are fun, safe, scientific, and are great to use in the classroom. The more teachers use them, the more they'll discover what a great tool they are to get students motivated to learn.
I've gone out of my way to scour the internet looking for sites that would be useful for teachers. Like you, I started with the search engines; but they missed a lot of the great links. They missed this site, so that just proves my point. But even if the search engines found a site, it may not have contained useful information. Unlike a search engine, I personally look at each site and evaluate the information from my unique perspective as an Aeronautical Engineer. Only those where the information is accurate and would be useful for the teaching of rocketry subjects make it to this site. Then I categorize the information in distinct classifications, so that you can find the information you need in the quickest amount of time. But I realize that this site will never be complete; so I need your help. If you know of a site that has some useful information, please send me an email. I would love to add a link to that site.
On this web site, I have tried to provide educators with aspects of rocketry that have real world applications. There is so much more involved in rocketry than just teaching Newton's Three Law's of Motion. We're only scratching the surface. It is a fun journey, and I hope that you get the same satisfaction out of it that I get.
Apogee Components has been founded under the principle of supplying innovative and top quality rocketry products to educators throughout the world. We have, and we will continue to develop products to assist teachers in bringing the high energy tool of rocketry into the classroom. Besides producing and selling innovative rocket kits and accessories, we have also developed ready to use curriculum and other rocketry resources. To prove that we do care, we now bring you this great web resource. Please bookmark our site now!
Tim Van Milligan - President, Apogee Components, Inc.