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Rockets Away! Shepherdstown Library teaches kids about science

By Staff | Jun 29, 2018

Tabitha Johnston/Chronicle Morgan Academy student Luke Hodkinson, left, and Blake Groom, right, who is homeschooled, work together to build a rocket during Friday’s workshop.

The Shepherdstown Library’s Children’s Department hosted a rocket building workshop Friday morning, as part of its 2018 Summer Reading Program.

Led by Children’s Librarian Christy Hagerty, 20 children ages 5 and up built and launched three different paper rocket designs, using bendy straws or liter-sized plastic pop bottles attached to rubber tubes, to see which rocket could be propelled the farthest.

Jennifer McNeill, of Uvilla, said her and her daughter, Magnolia, signed up for the program when they came in to sign up for the Summer Reading Program. Magnolia, a second-grade student at Morgan Academy, said it was her first time building a rocket she could launch, although she has previously built rockets with her dad.

“If she can figure the rocket building out, she’ll probably recreate it at home,” Jennifer said. “I think a lot of kids like science, because it’s more hands-on and easy to experiment with.”

According to Jennifer, Magnolia enjoys learning about space so much, she wore a space-themed skirt to the workshop and has previously had a space-themed birthday party.

Marci Groom, of Kearneysville, said the event was perfect for children, because of their innate curiosity and creative minds.

“Once they find something fun to do, you don’t really have to guide them; they experiment on their own,” Groom said, mentioning she homeschools her son, who loves rockets. “We do a lot of science, that’s his favorite subject – this last year we focused on learning about space.”

NASA computer subcontractor Amy Hodkinson was thankful her son, Luke, was able to claim the last spot in the program, which was by reservation only.

“It’s something a little different from what he normally gets to do,” said Hodkinson, whose husband – a NASA field logistician – brings home survival equipment when he’s not traveling the globe. “Right now, he wants to be a police man when he grows up, but he loves the gear my husband brings home to test.”

Caroline Orr, of Shepherdstown, said the event is important because it could influence the children’s future choices.

“This is something fun for them to learn. It might open opportunities for them to figure out what they would like to do in the future,” said Orr, whose daughter will be going into first grade at Shepherdstown Elementary School in the fall. “Most kids love rockets, and this workshop was fun and educational, so it’s a win-win for kids.”