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To promote the young generations' talent and their skills, in order to contribute in the fields of science and space exploration.

STEM Project

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STEM Concept

To bring together the math, science and computer departments of participating schools to complete a team project centered on the NASA space exploration program. This program will not only give students a taste of the interesting work that can be done in math, science and computers, it will also give them experience in working on a project driven team.

Target Audience: Grades six through eight.

Sequence of Events:

  • Day One
    • Review of NASA space exploration program.
    • Overview of team competition.
    • Team Selection
  • Day Two
    • Review of individual team projects.
    • Review of basic concepts pertinent to each team.
  • Day Three
    • Work on problems.
  • Day Four
    • Coordinate with other teams to integrate project
  • Day Five
    • Team competitions and awards.

Our basic STEM plan has three (3) separate parts. It is centered around a “NASA Week” at the participating schools. Our plan will bring together the mathematics, science and computer departments in each school. The classes will spend one week on building an interdisciplinary project that illustrates the interesting applications of math and science. Each team will work on one aspect of the problem. One team will work on the math unit, another team will work on the computer unit and another team will work on the science unit.

Team Project

The team project will be to build a model rocket. The construction and operation of the rocket will serve as a gateway to the world of practical applications of math and science. The teachers will be encouraged to mix the teams up to expose students to groups they may not have been exposed to.

The Science department will be responsible for the building, and testing of model rockets. They will also be responsible for teaching basic principles of flight. This is to give the students some insight, and to give them ideas on how to make their rockets better overall performers. This may be accomplished by adding fins, reshaping the nose cone, shortening the rocket, or any other ideas they may think of. The actual testing will be attended by all students, as each will have a reason to be there, depending on which element of the project they are working on.

The Math department will be responsible for the teaching of several simple formulas related to rocketry, such as distance, acceleration, velocity, and possibly also how to calculate the distance the rocket traveled. All of the info will be included in the project packets that are sent out for “NASA Week”.

The Computer department will be responsible for teaching the students to modify a simple single page web page, which will be sent as part of the project package. The basic page will be supplied, with instructions to allow the teams to change the backgrounds, fonts, colors, as well as how to put the data obtained from the calculations (pre-flight and post-flight) onto the page for others to see.

The program is designed to be run as a contest. The individual categories of the contest will be left up to the teachers. The teachers running the contest would base the judging on each individual area, and then the overall score from each team deciding the winner. There wouldn’t have to be any elaborate prizes, maybe some certificates, or possibly some NASA materials (posters, key chains, etc.)

We feel that the overall experience would teach students about teamwork in a math and science based environment, and show a glimpse of the interesting possibilities in these fields. We are certain that every student involved will remember this project week for many years to come.


University of Northern Iowa