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Launching imaginations

Julie Angell • Jul 21, 2015 at 2:39 PM

Loutit District Library provided the “Rocket Man” opportunity for older kids to put together makeshift missiles out of 2-liter empty pop bottles and duct tape before they made a crash landing in the park.

Folks passing by the park that afternoon heard the whooshing of the streams of water following the rockets up into the sky, and whipped their heads around to see a large group of rocket men and women.

Themes ranged from cartoon characters to international rockets with flags from South Korea and the Soviet Union. Some 2-liter bottles were transformed into something a little more sophisticated.

“I’m thinking I’m going to put extra fins here for stability,” amateur rocket scientist Ryan Moreno said as he pointed to his intricate cruise missile. “I studied warfare for seven years.”

Up on the whiteboard in the rocket production headquarters were steps to creating the ultimate flying machine.

Allison Boyer, who heads youth services at the Grand Haven library, came up with the idea of a rocket launch with her friend, science teacher Jason Raddatz. Raddatz was the one to fill the rockets with air and get them the best height as possible. He even took water to the face as some rockets failed to perform correctly.

The physics lesson disguised as a fun-filled afternoon was a hit with the kids. Boyer said she hopes to continue programs like this, in which rocketeers can reach for the stars with simple materials.

“It’s always fun to have a program kids like to do,” she said. “But it’s always great to mix in some education.”

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