2015 STEM Outreach

Educational Engagement Plan

Throughout the course of the coming year, our team will conduct (and assist with) several educational outreach programs for middle schools and high schools in our community. Our goal for these programs is to convey the sense of excitement and wonder that we all felt when introduced to rocketry and space exploration for the first time. To accomplish this, we will be continuing our partnership with Northeastern University’s Center for STEM Education. Last year, we collaborated with them to reach more than 200 middle and high school students. This year, we hope to go beyond our previous year’s success and reach a larger number of students.

Currently, we have four field trips planned for the fall and spring, on September 25th, October 2nd, November 6th, and April 1st. We will be hosting three middle school groups and a high school group from the Boston public school system, and facilitating the Center for STEM in running the Paper Rockets activity described in the NASA Educators’ Guide. We expect to reach a total of 130-140 students with these activities. In addition, we will also be looking to host more student groups throughout the year, as soon as details with the Center for STEM are finalized.

As we did last year, we are planning to teach classes through the Northeastern Program for Teaching by Undergraduates (NEPTUN). Last year, we taught two classes on SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD software during which attendees learned to design, render, and animate mechanical devices. The members who taught the SOLIDWORKS seminars are not available this year, but we are creating a similar lesson plan based on our available expertise. While this doesn’t directly relate to rocketry, 3D modeling is an important skill in engineering fields and is a skill we use in designing our rockets.

Learning Objectives

STEM Field Trips

  1. Understanding of How Rockets Work – Our primary goal is to give our students a beginner’s understanding of how a rocket works, and a basic overview of the math and science involved. We also want to instill the same interest and passion we all have for the subject by providing them with a way to discover to excitement of rocketry
  2. The Importance of Rocketry and Space Exploration – We want to make sure students not only understand how rockets work, but also why it’s important to study and explore space. We will discuss the technological advances and benefits to society brought about by scientific investigation and how these advances relate to our daily lives.

General Objectives

  1. A General Interest in STEM Fields – Many students perceive STEM fields as intimidating or uncool. One of our goals is to break down this reputation through fun, accessible activities.
  2. Build Lifelong Skills – More than just information, we want to give our students skills that they will be able use for the rest of their lives. The paper rockets activity will teach students design and building skills that are applicable in many life paths. Computer modeling is a more specific skill, but is invaluable for students interested in engineering.