Math and science teacher Brian Smith is on a mission to use model rocketry as an exciting, hands-on activity to enhance students’ learning in math and physics and encourage students to pursue further STEM education. He recounts some of his earlier successes:
I spent two years as a teacher and science curriculum designer at Harlem Success Academy, a charter school in New York City. We capped off our 6th grade physics unit by building and launching model rockets. Students that had struggled to engage with other labs on force and motion were enthralled with the idea that something they could build would fly hundreds of feet in the air at speeds of more than 100 mph. Every single student built and launched his or her very own rocket from the basketball court behind the school. When I hear from my students, some still talk about this project and how they want to apply to the specialized science high schools.
Now teaching in Santa Fe, Brian is working hard to gather the resources necessary to start an official Rocket Club at his high school and support his students’ entry into the Team America Rocketry Challenge. Brian’s school is underprivileged. He writes that “our school is badly underfunded… Positions for teachers and teaching assistants have been cut, and class sizes are climbing into the high 30s.” In that budgetary climate, it’s impossible for the school to launch the club out of its own funds.
Brian’s fundraising goal of $2,500 covers all of the setup costs of the club, including design software and scientific instruments, as well as a year’s supply of rocket parts, engines, and so on. In addition, $500 of the goal amount is set aside for the registration fee for the four teams of students he hopes to send to the Team America Rocketry Challenge.
Will you join me in supporting the club? Visit the Kickstarter page here!