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HHS Students Launch Rockets and Put Physics and Trig Skills to Test

Written by: Crystel Ellison

Houston high school seniors and juniors put their physics and trig skills to work recently both inside and outside the classroom.

Ms. Anna Katherine Davis, HHS physics and algebra teacher, taught her physics students formulas to calculate the average speed and trig functions to calculate the altitude of a rocket. Davis then expanded on these lessons by having her students collect data and calculate these methods during a real live launch.

“The students had to build the rocket first and then had to find the mass for their calculations,” Davis explained. “When we launched them, they had to place the rocket on the launch pad and hook it up correctly. Then they had to count down and push the button on the launch controller.”

Students were divided into pairs and given different assignments to collect data.

“While the rocket was in the air, a student had to find the angle of the rocket using the angle finder. Another student had to time the rocket until it reached its maximum height. Another student had to time the entire flight of the rocket,” Davis said.

A total of five rockets were launched three different times using three different engines: B6-4, B6-2, and C6-5. All five rockets had a successful first launch. Liza Boyer, senior, and Alex Spring, junior, had successful launches all three times.

Once the data was collected, the students plugged the numbers into the formulas and calculated the speed and altitude.

(For more pictures of the rocket launch, visit Houston School District’s Facebook page.)

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