2. Classes for groups about how rockets work and about elements of the hobby.
3. Group rocket-building sessions, potentially with a launching session either immediately afterward or within a few days.
4. Support for participants in structured national rocketry programs such as the NAR/AIA Team America Rocketry Challenge or the NASA Student Launch InitiativeIn general, outreach ought to be targeted to people whom it is likely will have some interest in and ability to participate in rocketry activities (either academic or hobby-related) following that day’s interaction. It should have a message that is being communicated (“join our Section and have this kind of fun with us” or “study math and science so you can be a rocket scientist”) or an objective that is being pursued (earning a Merit Badge, completing a class learning objective) and must have content targeted to this message and to the age group and interests of the audience in order to be effective. Typically events that include a hands on activity such as building and/or flying a rocket are more effective in stimulating follow-on interest than more passive classroom type activities. Of course, presentations to groups can reach a much bigger audience, so if these are your opportunity, livening them up with videos of rocket launches or using pass-around examples of rockets may help enhance audience interest.Don’t expect huge return from any single outreach activity; persistence is the key to long-term success. And “Bunny’s rule of tens” (named by and for a former NAR President) generally applies: for every ten interested people who are in a participating group you will normally at best get one who takes the next step (coming to a launch after a building session, for example); and then for every ten who take this second step, one may take the final step by becoming an actual member of the Section or active hobbyist. Combining steps with your participants, such as by having a launch after a building session at the same site on the same day, may improve your return ratio.
Science teachers are often open to ideas about how to build enthusiasm in their students for science-related activities. Some of them may already use model rocketry in their school classrooms, or as a club after school. Seek out these teachers and invite them to join your Section. If they are into rocketry, offer to help. If they are not, offer to teach them how – use the educator resources on the NAR website as a starting point. Time is a limiting factor for teachers; they have many learning objectives to cover in their classroom time, and many school-related tasks they have to perform in their time outside of the classroom. So their capacity to spend their own time on rocketry may be limited, and your help may be welcome. Liability and risk from rocketry may be an issue for school administrators; use the resources about safety on the NAR website to make the case with them about the hobby’s safety.
Boy Scouts of America is a natural for model rocketry as one of their Merit Badges is in Space Exploration. One of the requirements of this merit badge is to build and successfully launch a model rocket, and then launch it a second time with some kind of mission in mind. This mission does not have to be a complicated one. It can be to simply land a rocket within a specific distance of a flag in the launch area. There are also many knowledge requirements connected with this merit badge (see the web link above), but the rocketry part of it gives the local Section a perfect opportunity for outreach. Members of the Section could start by having a demonstration launch, and follow with a building session and launch with the scouts who choose to participate. 4 or 5 evening sessions with the scouts or one full weekend day should be enough to complete all the Merit Badge requirements.
- Civil Air Patrol (CAP) and Air Force Junior ROTC
Sections have run rocketry displays and demonstration launches in local community or county fairs and community day celebrations, and at air shows. They have partnered with local hobby stores to do “make it, fly it, and take it” sessions where the store offers the kits at a discount and provides a building spot and potentially a launching site nearby. They have set up and run displays about rocketry and the NAR in science or aviation museums, teacher conventions, or conventions of other groups likely to have an interest in rocketry. They have worked with Challenger Learning Centers or local science or aviation museums that run programs including model rocketry. Every community has its own unique opportunities for an audience you can reach out to; just make sure that the audience is one that is likely to include the kind of people who will actually follow up and engage in rocketry and potentially join your Section.
Many outreach programs involve building, or better yet building then flying, a model rocket. A Section that pays for all the materials to do this with a large number of people can run through their entire treasury in a hurry. It may be possible to get local grants from businesses or civic groups to support this, or to charge a nominal fee to participants in a building session to cover the cost of the kit and building materials. The list below describes all the bulk-pack vendors that currently provide the kinds of inexpensive rocket kits and supporting products needed to do this type of activity.
|4-H Rocketry Program||May 27, 2014, 10:10 pm||140 KB|
|AFJROTC Model Rocketry Handbook||May 27, 2014, 10:10 pm||18 KB|
|Building and Launching Rockets With Groups of Kids (Cochran)||May 27, 2014, 10:10 pm||37 KB|
|CAP Rocketry Regulations (2004)||May 27, 2014, 10:10 pm||159 KB|
|Holding an Outreach Building Session (Boadway)||May 27, 2014, 10:10 pm||28 KB|
|NAR This is Rocketry||May 27, 2014, 10:10 pm||2 MB|
|Rocket Flight NAR Certificate||May 27, 2014, 10:10 pm||26 KB|
|Rocketry for Scouts & 4-H (Heren)||May 27, 2014, 10:10 pm||55 KB|