SystemsGo aeroscience trains in Houston for first time
For release June 20, 2011
Contact: SystemsGo (830) 997-3567 firstname.lastname@example.org
18 high school teachers learn to launch rockets
Eighteen Texas high school teachers are gathering June 20-26 at SAIC facilities in Houston for a week-long training in how to launch today’s students on careers as tomorrow’s engineers and scientists, as part of SystemsGo Aeroscience, an innovative project-based course in which students design, build, and launch rockets that travel several miles high and surpass the speed of sound.
This is the 6th year of training by SystemsGo, which now boasts 64 teachers at 60 high schools who teach 1500 students annually. Teachers new to the program spend the week learning the fundamentals of project-based learning, listening to national speakers, and building and launching three generations of small-scale rockets as well as design and development of high-power sounding rockets.
"The training is designed to help teachers implement the ‘design-development-testing-evaluation’ loop industry uses in research," said Brett Williams, the Fredericksburg high school teacher who developed the program and directs the training. "The goal is to get first-year teachers ready to lead their high school students through the development of the rocket that will carry a one pound payload one mile high."
Second-level teachers learn to facilitate the development of a sounding rocket capable of exceeding the speed of sound.
This is the first time the training is being conducted in Houston. Williams notes that this is being done in support of the 15 Houston-area high schools involved in the program to reduce logistics and travel costs. “We also are seeing a growing synergy between our education initiative and Houston’s aerospace and engineering industries,” Williams said. “We have been planning this for at least three years and are gratified to see our efforts take hold.”
For the past five years students from Texas schools have gathered each spring near Fredericksburg, where they launch their test vehicles. To further support Houston-area schools, SystemsGo will begin adding a launch facility supported by DOW Chemical Company. “The Houston area can expect to see innovative, progressive education at its best at the end of next school year when local schools come and test their vehicles to one mile altitudes, and others attempting to break the speed of sound, in the Lake Jackson area,” Williams states.
This Houston Initiative is being supported by a steering committee that includes officers from NASA, SAIC (Science Applications International Corporation), DKI Consulting, Oceaneering, Jacobs Engineering, and other aerospace corporations. SAIC is providing training facilities, and Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) – the leading U.S. commercial launch services provider founded by PayPal co-founder Elon Musk - is providing financial support.
“Some programs can get students excited; some programs get teachers excited,” said Andrew Matthes, Education Manager for SystemsGo. “With this program you see both the student and the teacher get excited about engineering and problem-solving. It is good to see industry recognize and help spark the successes by teachers and students in learning about research and development.”
SystemsGo is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization formed to help spread the program to other high schools in Texas. The goal of SystemsGo is to promote engineering studies and research, develop work force skills, and encourage students to enter academic and career paths in STEM fields that lead to careers in the engineering industries, using project-based activities. SystemsGo is endorsed by NASA and certified by The Space Foundation.
More information on becoming involved with SystemsGo is available at www.systemsgo.org.
Schools and teachers involved in the SystemsGo training include:
Brazoswood; Hobbs, Dale
Byron Martin Adv. Technology Center - Lubbock; Thomas, Dusty
Cedar Creek High School (Bastrop); Conn, Thomas
Channelview High School; Taylor, Javian
Eastwood Academy; Hinojosa, Maricela
Eisenhower High School; Thomas, Robert
Northwest High School; Sink, Elizabeth (Ashley)
Robstown HS; Jamison, John
S.F. Austin High School; Nemec, Jesse
Byron Martin Adv. Technology Center - Lubbock; Wallace, Dewayne
Hargrave High School; Maddux, Craig
John A. Dubiski Career High School; Minix, Winston
Kingwood High School; Mascolo, Louis
Kingwood Park High School; Brown, Jim
New Diana High School; Warden, Shawn
R.L. Turner High School; Gscheidle, Karl
Union Grove High School; Park, Greg
Sidney Lanier High School; Rankin, James
Houston-area teachers already participating in SystemsGo:
Cooper, Paula; Eastwood Academy
Johnson, Tim; SF Austin High School
Kirkwood, Jim; Spring Woods High School
Le, Nghia; Booker T. Washington High School
Tucker, Col. Jesse; CE King High School
Maddux, Craig; Hargrave High School
Moore, Kirk; Anahuac High School
Brown, Jim; Kingwood Park High School
Mascolo, Louis; Kingwood Park High School