Move Over NASA, Rim High is in the Space Race - Mountain News : News

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Move Over NASA, Rim High is in the Space Race

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Posted: Thursday, June 6, 2019 9:00 am

Classes at Rim of the World High School collaborated to launch rockets from the football field Wednesday, May 29, through Friday, May 31.

As part of the California Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), Ms. Maier’s science classes were wrapping up the year on the topic of astronomy. They worked together with Coach Ferrara’s welding classes in an exercise that demonstrated some practical applications of physics, engineering and trigonometry.

Prior to launching the rockets, Maier’s classes had finished studying the life cycle of stars and had watched a NOVA video called “Earth from Space.”

“[The video] was sort of a culmination of our year together and a sneak peek into what they will see next year in bio and how it all comes together, but, from the lens of space... how satellites are used in science to study electromagnetic spectrum, ocean health and weather,” Maier said.

With the unpredictable weather this spring, Maier wanted to finish out the year with something that involved a hands-on, experiential project. So she researched and designed the lesson of launching paper rockets. The project incorporated the engineering practice of design and redesign to improve the students’ rockets’ ability to fly further.

“So, I thought, let’s reach for the stars and engineer rockets,” Maier said. “They had to design rockets, launch them with their classes and calculate the height using a trigonometry equation. It was pretty exciting for them to see why mathematics is important in science, building models and learning in general how they could calculate height from angles. Then we went back to the classroom to refine our models by reviewing what worked, didn’t, and what worked better; then headed back out Friday for a final competition.”

Ferrara got involved by overseeing the assembly of a donated rocket launcher, got inspired, and supervised his own students in the building of a second, high-powered, compressed-air rocket launcher. Additionally, his classes made rocket assembly stands out of wood using tools in their shop.

Ferrara’s classes got so involved, that the science classes ended up competing against the wood and welding classes.

By Friday afternoon, the longest distance a rocket flew was 343 feet. The rocket was made by Emilie Ross-Daniels, from Maier’s class. The ROP class came in second with a distance of 270 feet, launched by Erik Martinez. William Alexander and Joseph Collins were responsible for telemetry reading of the height of each rocket.

“I love when we can create learning across different departments, truly putting multiple skills together and applying their knowledge from the classroom. The welding class built the inclinometer and helped the science class measure the height the rockets went, truly cooperative learning at its finest!” said David Nygren, principal of Rim High.

NASA, SpaceX and Virgin Galactic do not have to worry that Rim High is entering the race for contracting to send manned and cargo ships to space, but who knows how three days of launching rockets might have inspired some students.

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