Arieh Schkolnik is an effervescent enthusiast of many subjects. He delights in astronomy. He loves creativity. Lately, he is enjoying perfecting small rockets using water, plastic bottles and plastic bags and converting them into a watchable display of physics.
On May 29th, 2008, he brought a tank of compressed air and his latest manifestation of small launchable rocket to demonstrate to pupils of Nitzenei Eshkol Public School how it’s possible to convert a dream into a live take-off.
“Children, I had an idea and I tried many times. I had many failures, but I kept trying. About 3 times a month, on Saturdays, I take my ideas to the field in Kibbutz Nir Itzhak and I see if I’ve succeeded.
Finally, I came up with an idea. I found that a simple change in the shape of a bottle, one with a slanted top, could allow the exchange of gas and water that I’ve been hoping for. Now we will see a rocket blast off and have its parachute open at the maximum height to take it back down to earth.”
I want you to watch. Last demonstration took me 4 times to succeed. Let’s see how it goes this time.”
Arieh filled his plastic bottle with water, folded the plastic parachute into place and inverted the bottle over the compressed air.
’10, 9, 8…’
The grade 6 kids were counting down, while I was aiming my camera at the launching pad.
Of course, I was out of sync with the blast-off, but I caught the faces of Arieh and the kids and the parachute gliding bottle as it floated back down.
Arieh also showed the kids how to measure the height by using trigonometry. (‘What’s that?” asked a kid. ‘Using triangles to calculate distances”, I answered, hoping that I correctly remembered. I used to love math, oops, what happened, I thought? Did life really get in the way of using the simple tools taught so many years ago?)
After 4 separate launches, two of which were totally successful, Arieh again encouraged the kids:
“Remember, school teaches you many things, but you can learn so much more by taking the tools and going out to learn things for yourself! And never give up. Persevere. It might not work the first time, but keep on going! You will be successful!”
Thank you, Arieh! Always a source of contagious enthusiasm. May our young children be filled with scientific curiousity to question what they’re taught and see if they can take it a step further. Creativity will open the minds of this generation, for the good of us all.
-judih, May 30/08