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FHS Students to Participate in National Rocket Contest (December, 2005)

Frisco High School physics students are preparing to take part in the 2006 Team America Rocketry Challenge, a nationwide contest for students in grades 7-12 that aims to get them interested in math and science – using a $60,000 prize package for the top teams as an incentive.

Anthony Chavez, physics teacher at Frisco High School, uses rocket building as part of his curriculum and is encouraging his students to participate. This year’s challenge is to design, build and fly a model rocket carrying a raw egg and return it safely to the ground while staying aloft for exactly 45 seconds and reaching an altitude of 800 feet. If the raw egg breaks at any time, the team that built the rocket is disqualified. The closer the team gets to 800 feet and 45 seconds, the more points they will score, he said.

“The groups started last week. The competition is in a few months. The group will do the library research to gain as much knowledge as they can before they start constructing their rocket. The team will work with rocket simulators in order to build an effective rocket. Once they start building their rockets, the team will do some trial and error flights,” he said. “We will build a few rockets and try them out when the weather becomes nice enough. We want to consistently make the rocket do what we need it to do.”

Teams must use lightweight, non-metal parts for the nose, body and fins of the rocket, according to the Rocketry Challenge requirements.

Chavez says that according to the challenge website, the first 750 teams to sign up for the challenge get to compete. First, teams must go through a qualifying match. Each team must schedule and conduct one or two qualification flights in the presence of a current senior member of National Association of Rocketry, no later than April 9, 2006. The top 100 scores in the qualifying match are invited to compete at the national competition in Virginia in May. The top 10 teams get prizes and share the $60,000 prize package.

The students are looking for sponsors for the project. If anyone is interested in working with the teams with this project, please contact Anthony Chavez at Chaveza@Friscoisd.org or call Frisco High School at (469) 633- 5500 and ask for his voice mail.