Who needs SpaceX?! Model rocket tradition continues at Hales Corners school despite pandemic

HALES CORNERS -- While the world waits for Saturday's delayed SpaceX launch, eighth-graders at Hales Corners Lutheran School put their own model rockets to the test Thursday morning.

Bridget Blaha

The method may not be ideal, but student Bridget Blaha and her classmates have learned Newton's laws of physics through a hands-on experiment over the last few weeks.

"It's definitely a lot easier in a classroom, because you can ask questions if you're confused. Otherwise, you have to do a Zoom call or something," Blaha said.

Until Thursday, the experiment was done at home. Science teacher Jana Horn have step-by-step instruction not in the classroom, but through online videos. She said she didn't want the project -- now a school tradition -- to be lost amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jana Horn

"This is one thing that eighth-graders always do, and I felt like it's one thing that we could still do. That in combination with it's not computer-based," Horn said.

So after a quick grade, installing the engines and preparing the launch site, they proved that something even as intricate as rocket science can be taught apart.

"I would never again say that I don't like school, because I miss it a lot," said Blaha.

Model rocket launch at Hales Corners Lutheran School

Model rocket launch at Hales Corners Lutheran School

For Horn, the chance to reconnect in person for the first time in months and provide one last middle school memory is what education is all about.

"That's why we're teachers," Horn said. "We love those relationships with the kids."

The rockets launch into the air, then deploy a parachute to float back toward the ground. This year's launch was even more special as the students' parents were able to watch, too.