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You’ve heard it said, “Hey, it’s not rocket science.” Well, rocket science doesn’t have to be rocket science either. Just watch middle-school teacher Rick Schertle take a group of youngsters through the steps of building and launching their own paper rockets.

Sprout by HPIn the video, Schertle shows how he used a high-tech teaching tool — the Sprout by HP — to make the project more enthralling, and even easier to construct for a group of eight kids, as young as three.

But what may be most interesting to educators who want to create and share projects with classes, clubs, and camps, is this: He relied on the Sprout’s stop-action photo application to capture each step — making them more engaging than in a book and easier to follow than a video.

Be sure to watch the video to the end, to see how the boys and girls delight in shooting their rockets high into the bright blue sky.

Schertle’s rocket project itself doesn’t take much — ordinary copier paper, masking tape, and a 1′ length of ½” PVC piping used to form the rocket body.

As simple as it seems, the Sprout made it even easier.

As Schertle explains, he used the Sprout’s camera to capture a template for all the rocket’s paper parts. He used its built-in projector to display the template on a blank sheet, allowing the kids to trace the parts prior to cutting them out. He also deployed the Sprout to design and print a plastic stand to position the rocket’s fins just right.

Schertle, 46, of San Jose, California, and one of our regular contributors, is also an author. This rocket project comes from his recently co-authored book Planes, Gliders, and Paper Rockets: Simple Flying Things Anyone Can Make — Kites and Copters, Too! 

An airplane and rocket hobbyist since his own youth, Schertle designed the compressed air launcher you’ll see. His first PVC version debuted in 2008, but has since been redesigned to use pressure-rated steel pipe. It’s available as a $109.99 kit from our Maker Shed.

Schertle used the original all-in-one Sprout PC for this project, but the company has since debuted a second version, the Sprout Pro by HP, available in February.

The Sprout Pro comes with a new generation of Intel Core i7 processor, deeper integration with Microsoft’s Skype for Business for better collaboration, and a new “HP Magnifier” app that allows you to share physical objects and documents with an audience or classroom.

The original Sprout is also available from Maker Shed as a standalone , or bundled with the Dremel Idea Builder 3D Printer.