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Walker Hills, 8, builds his model rocket during the summer rocketry camp.

July 7, 2005

Rockets Boost Science Skills
Rocketry Camp Has Built-In Fun Factor


Reprinted with permission from the Tampa Tribune

CARROLLWOOD - Tom Bronson had toyed with model rockets as a child and enjoyed it, so when Independent Day School came looking for summer camp ideas, Bronson was prepared.

Adam Frisco, 10, learns about what goes into building a rocket with help from Bronson.

Nine years later, he still leads model rocketry camp at the private school, watching over students as they figure out blueprints and assemble minishuttles and seeing their glee when their creations fly.

"It’s a neat process, because there’s definitely math involved, and there’s definitely science involved," Bronson said.

Rocket kits range in difficulty and suit elementary and middle school children while slipping in academics and teamwork lessons. Bronson, a math teacher at Independent Day, talks to the students about parabolas and flight patterns and measures elevation with an altimeter.

But it’s summer camp, and fun is the first priority.

Hannah Harley, 11, and teacher Tom Bronson watch a Shuttle Express rocket take off from its pad. Bronson, a math instructor, leads model rocketry camp at Independence Day School.

Hannah Harley, 11, applied glue to her rocket, a complicated model with detachable parts that would parachute to the ground. The Cambridge School incoming sixth-grader watched a launch Tuesday, worked on her rocket Wednesday and sent it off Friday. It’s cool, she said.

Alex Mabie, who attends Martinez Middle School, said he hadn’t put together a rocket but wasn’t having trouble following the directions. He plays with Legos sometimes, he said, which might help.

"I’ve never launched anything before," said Alex, 11. "I’ve always wanted to try rocketry."

Reporter Courtney Cairns Pastor can be reached at (813) 865-1503.

Copyright © 2005, The Tampa Tribune and may not be republished without permission. E-mail

Photo Captions: Tribune photos by CANDACE C. MUNDY

Courtney Cairns Pastor
The Tampa Tribune
Northwest Hillsborough education reporter
(813) 865-1503



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