500 Rockets Launched at Montclair’s Watchung Elementary School

Watchung Elementary School, Montclair’s science and technology magnet, held its first-ever Science Summit on Friday, March 9, where students learned that science is fun through interactive experiments applying principles of Newton’s three laws of gravity and motion.

Through teacher-led experiments students participated in hands-on lessons illustrating forces in motion. Experiments included: Bike Pump Rocket Launch, Helmet Crash – Melon Test, Housed Egg Drop, CD-Balloon Hover Craft. Students floated hover crafts made out of a CD, water bottle tops and balloons across desk surfaces. They learned the importance of helmet safety as they watched melons secured in bike helmets drop from tall heights, and were asked to sign a helmet safety pledge.

“The idea to bring an interactive science day at school came after my son attended a mad science party and was thrilled he got to touch the experiments,” said Watchung PTA president, Stephanie Stroller. “I spoke with Dr. Turnamian, and he was incredibly supportive and helped launch the plan.”

The event culminated in a rocket launch on the school field from 10 bicycle pump air pressure launchers illustrating the concepts of forced air and Newton’s 3rd law. Students excitedly launched their hand-made rockets watching them shoot hundreds of feet in the air. “It is important for children to develop an interest in science at an early age, and using hands-on experiments encourages students to be curious and critical thinkers,” said Dr. Turnamian, Watchung Principal. “Our teachers, staff and PTA did an incredible job engaging students and teaching them scientific concepts through fun, exciting experiments.”

Science majors from Montclair State University and engineers from OXO, a Manhattan-based company of innovative consumer products, assisted on the field
for the rocket launch. Montclair Bikery generously donated bike pumps for the rocket launchers. Media Supply Inc. in Exton, PA generously donated 600 CDs for the Hover Craft Experiment, so that each child could make their own. American Safety ASHP in Charlottesville, VA generous donated bike helmets for the Gravity experiments.

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