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L-R: Leslie Alexander, Rebekah Hyatt, Tom Parrish, Elizabeth Mitias, Toni Castle.

June 10, 2019–A group of SystemsGo teachers spent a week in June reviewing and updating the Oberth curriculum, the level at which students design and build rockets to break the sound barrier.

Rebekah Hyatt, Program Director, and the following teachers met in Fredericksburg:

  • Leslie Alexander, Marble Falls High School
  • Tom Parrish, Hamilton High School
  • Elizabeth Mitias, Northwest High School
  • Toni Castle, London High School (Corpus Christi)

“We addressed all the feedback we received from a curriculum survey of current teachers,” Hyatt said. “Our goal was to improve and update the curriculum that has been in use since the beginning of the program.”

Video: Rebekah Hyatt demonstrates a vacuum chamber to test altimeter readings.

Updates include adding more fabrication and testing opportunities for students, and deepening the math level to enhance the understanding of breaking the sound barrier and its effects on the components of the rocket.

In addition, teachers will now follow a new approach to addressing the history of space exploration.

“Rather than a blanket overview, we will look at the historical aspects as they pertain to the rocket components in their design, such as the nose cone, fins, and so on,” Hyatt said. The revisions also highlight key individuals and accomplishments as well as the increasing role played by private industry.”

After the initial changes are drafted, Hyatt will polish the document and submit it for a final review. The curriculum will be implemented in teacher training later in the summer and be ready for use throughout the program in the fall.

This component completes the cycle of curriculum updating that began in 2017. The curriculum review and update was funded by a three-year grant from The Boeing Company. Previous cycles covered the Introduction to Engineering level and the Tsiolkovsky level, where students design and build rockets to loft a one-pound payload one mile high.

“We want to thank all of the teachers who have participated in updating the SystemsGo curriculum,” Hyatt said. “They have been very dedicated to the task. It is obvious they care deeply about the program and their own roles in changing student lives.”