SystemsGo aeroscience trains in Houston for first time

18-Jun-2011

For release June 20, 2011

Contact: SystemsGo (830) 997-3567 info@systemsgo.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.

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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

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