On Wednesday, July 15, 48 stu­dents par­tic­i­pating in a North­eastern summer pro­gram found out sci­ence can really be a blast. To learn more about the mechanics of space travel, they got to launch bottle rockets high into the air.

The Exxon­Mobil Bernard Harris Summer Sci­ence Camp brings Boston-​​area middle schoolers with an interest in math and sci­ence to North­eastern for two weeks of interactive—and fun—activities. Besides gaining knowl­edge in the areas of sci­ence, tech­nology, engi­neering and math­e­matics (STEM), the kids also get to see what life is like on a col­lege campus.

On bottle rocket day, the stu­dents, working in teams of three, used their sci­ence skills to fashion duct tape and 2-​​liter soda bot­tles into rockets.

Six­teen were launched on the foot­ball field behind the John D. O’Bryant School of Math­e­matics and Sci­ence, in Rox­bury. The win­ning team, which called itself M.I.A., con­structed a rocket that stayed in the air for 6.4 sec­onds and landed on the side­walk across the street. (To see a video from the bottle rocket launch, click on the fol­lowing link: http://​www​.north​eastern​.edu/​n​e​w​s​/​m​u​l​t​i​m​e​d​i​a​/​v​i​d​e​o​.​h​t​m​l​?​c​o​n​t​e​n​t​I​D​=​D​t​t​r​A​p​8​r​p​k​i​q​A​D​5​J​i​3​7​kTg)

Other hands-​​on camp activ­i­ties include studying microbes, and building and testing the strength of bridges.

The pro­gram, free to stu­dents, is staffed by fac­ulty, admin­is­tra­tors and stu­dents from the Col­leges of Engi­neering and Arts and Sci­ences, and the Center for STEM Education.

We received well over 100 appli­ca­tions for 48 spots this year,” says Claire Duggan, director for pro­grams, part­ner­ships and oper­a­tions at the Center for STEM Edu­ca­tion. “We hope the pro­gram encour­ages each child toward a future that includes a career in the STEM fields.”

The summer sci­ence camp is offered at more than thirty cam­puses around the country. North­eastern was selected as a camp host because of its long-​​standing com­mit­ment to sup­porting and pro­moting math and sci­ence edu­ca­tion for local youth.