Since this school year has approached, I have been excited about the new class topic that I will be teaching! Rocketry is the absolute coolest thing next to writing computer code, of course.
This year, with the aid of Dr. Judy Lubin, Board Chair for Project Exploration and a citizen scientist, the students will have the opportunity to not only learn about rockets and how they work, but also go to a launch pad and watch the rocket that they built actually fly. This is a very exciting opportunity!
The main focus of the course for this semester is to show the students how coding goes into developing a rocket.
Teaching the students Python will give them a base into coding and a good idea of how to code and program rockets. This experience will be good for both the students and instructor as it will give them a bonding experience. Knowing that rocketry is a part of STEM, I’m confident that this experience will give the students different career options than what they were exposed to growing up.
When I asked the students about different career fields all or most of them answered similarly: mechanic, military, contractor, and hard labor work. Showing the students that there are other options out there besides the fields that require labor with your hands is totally new for them. If this happens, then the students will be glad that they had the guidance to make quick decisions to adjust with the market.
However, recent advancements in the field have the students and I excited! An organization called SpaceX is focusing on developing technology that could lead to sustaining life on other planets. Recently, they have invented a way to create reusable rockets. Utilizing such advanced technology rockets can even perform advanced maneuvers previously thought impossible! One such maneuver is called a grasshopper. The rocket is able to launch, hover, and then land in a different location. If this type of technology is already so advanced, then I can just imagine where it will be in the next few years. This brings exciting new opportunities for these students to work in this ever changing field. Looking forward to seeing what the students get out of this new and exciting curriculum!
Written by: Nigel Ray, STEM Facilitator
Edited by: Lukas C. Cottingham, Project Exploration Marketing Director