Keyon Williams thrust both arms into the air.
“I’m going to win! I’m going to win!” shouted the Kinnan Elementary School fifth grader.
His “Stomp Rocket” had landed 113 feet away and, after checking the distance measured by a trundle wheel, he did a victory dance.
“I’m going to win!” he sang out.
Learning math and science was never so much fun.
That’s what the school’s fifth-grade students were doing Monday in preparation for Space Day 2011, today’s cross-state field trip to the Kennedy Space Center.
Lockheed Martin is sponsoring the daylong adventure for the fourth- and fifth-grade classes at Kinnan and Abel Elementary School, too.
The air was filled with children’s voices and paper rockets that flew every which way over an open field.
Looking on, Kinnan Principal Kris Bayer was envious.
“When I was a fifth-grader in upstate New York we played kickball games,” he said. “Field trips? What was that? This is a big deal, a good educational exercise.”
The stomp rocket drill was fairly simple.
Teacher Bill Keele constructed the launching apparatus with PVC piping.
An empty plastic 2-liter soda bottle was attached at one end with tube-like paper rockets built by students mounted on the raised end.
“You just stomp on the bottle and see how far the rocket goes,” said Sophia Cannarille, 11.
“Or how high they go,” said Carolyn Hamilton, 10.
“A great way to help us learn while having fun,” said Naomi Gomez, 11.
Which was the idea, Keele said.
“They get more out of it when they’re doing something instead of sitting in the classroom,” the teacher said.
“They learn about distance, travel, height, trajectory. It’s easier when they see it in person instead of on a blackboard or piece of paper.”
Teacher Darlene Smith’s stu- dents also decorated their rockets with smiley faces, their own names and colorful de- signs.
Some rockets ended up on the roof of a nearby portable.
Some popped their tops at launch and never flew anywhere.
Some like Gabe Naughton’s soared far before landing.
His went the farthest at 131 feet -- 18 feet beyond Keyon Williams’s rocket.
“I want a rematch!” he cried.
Vin Mannix, local columnist, can be reached at 745-7055.