Oakley students learn that rocket science requires team work

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Oakley high school chemistry students switched gears Friday from chemical compounds to rocket science when they started off the school year building rockets. (KGO-TV )

Oakley high school chemistry students switched gears Friday from chemical compounds to rocket science when they started off the school year building rockets.

The rockets are made out of notebook paper and powered by air.

"They seem really simple to build, but the tiny little errors you make in design or construction of a paper rocket will have a lot more impact on its performance than if you build a big heavy rocket," said Ed Daley of the Patriots Jet Team Aerospace program.

The students got a little help from the Patriots Jet Team Foundation, an organization that knows a lot about aerobatics and aerodynamics. The teams get to test their rockets in a wind tunnel.

The kids quickly learn it's the little things that can make a difference.

"I learned that if you're sloppy it's not going to work as well," said freshman Alluree Olson.

They learn some physics in the process.

These paper projectiles are teaching them far more than rocket science. Most importantly, they're teaching them teamwork.

"You may not get along with everybody, but you're going to have to work with them one way or another," said freshman Nutce Castelluccio.

And when they work together they find out what went wrong. Students measure the altitude with homemade instruments and compete for a chance to visit the Patriots Jet Team School of Aeronautics.

No victory is forever. The students at Freedom High School do this every year. They're already making plans to improve.

"I'm going to put more effort into the rocket to make it hit 80 maybe 90 feet," said freshman Michael Carmichael.

Though they won't all work for NASA.

"I actually was an engineer before, and the skills that I learned from being an engineer was problem solving skills," said Dalia Stephson chemistry teacher. "I apply those skills in every aspect of my life."

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