Back to Volume
Paper: Broadening Learning Goals in STEM Projects
Volume: 524, Advancing Astronomy for All (ASP 2018)
Page: 247
Authors: DeBenedetti, J. C.
Abstract: Engineering activities surrounding model rocketry have been widely used in introducing students to physics of energy, motion, mechanics, and gravity. In elementary school the use of chemical rockets can be problematical for safety. A very satisfactory alternative is the use of compressed air rockets. We increase student interest by providing competitive challenges coupled with understanding, and adjusting, rocket parameters to achieve pre-determined landing sites. We have developed a very successful innovation of virtual financial accounts for students to “purchase” rocket components, fuel, and resources for trial flights. We introduced flight-based experiences where students set flight parameters to reach planetary orbits laid out on the school playgrounds. Students studied properties of various target planets, writing about their motivations for going to those planets, and developing financial plans for reaching their goals. We provide a summary description of the program, and discuss the advantages of such an innovative approach for STEM students.
Back to Volume