Clinton-Massie High School digital technology and math students recently collaborated on a new cross-disciplinary learning experience to evaluate the flight performance of rocket fin designs.
After successfully collaborating with CMHS math teacher Scott Rolf on a previous project where the math students redesigned a soft drink can, digital technology teacher Dann Sternsher approached Rolf about working together on a cross-disciplinary project with the math students helping to collect and analyze data about the rockets’ stability in flight and calculate maximum altitudes achieved.
Sternsher said, “My students have been working on an engineering and design project to create rocket fins that will increase stability in flight while maximizing the altitude of the rockets.”
Sternsher’s digital technology students followed a design process to research rocket flight and fin design. The students then used computer-aided-design (CAD) software to create their own rocket fin designs. The rocket fins were then produced using 3D printers.
Rolf’s math students used Altitrak devices to measure angles during flight, laser range finders to measure distance, and other devices to collect data, make observations, and calculate maximum altitudes achieved by the rockets.
Senior Alley Brown enjoyed working on the project.
“I really liked having the freedom to design something that we chose and then being able to test it” she said, continuing, “and being able to take the design and 3D print the fins made this project both fun and challenging.”
Makayla Christiansen, a senior in Rolf’s math class, worked on a team collecting and calculating data.
Christiansen reflected on the experience saying, “It was really cool seeing how the math we were doing worked with the projects the engineering students were working on.”
Sternsher added, “I think that students are more engaged and challenged anytime we can provide them with authentic, project-based-learning experiences that integrate their academic learning with real world application.”