Incoming freshmen launch rockets in Santa Maria
Students built and launched rockets this week as part of the Rocketing Into High School 2022 Summer Experience in the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District.
The free event took place Tuesday and Wednesday at Pioneer Valley High School. Lunch was provided both days.
The two-day adventure featured science teachers and students exploring the wonders of science and participating in the Next Generation Science Standards Engineering Design Challenge. The experience involved students building rockets for the competition.
Incoming students at Ernest Righetti High School, Pioneer Valley High School and Santa Maria High School on Wednesday launched Engineering Design Challenge Rockets during the event’s final day.
“It was a really good event, the teachers were great and the kids were even better. It was a fun two days,” Rebecca Wingerden, the Righetti science teacher who coordinated the event, told the News-Press.
“We had about 40 students sign up, but we only had about 20 actually show up,” Ms. Wingerden told the News-Press.
This event was started in 2019, but this is the first time that the event has been held since 2019 due to the pandemic.
“It was really fun. It was a great group of teachers running the small groups building the rockets,” said Ms. Wingerden. “For this activity, I am doing all of the facilitating and coordination. It was great to see the kids and see them interact and make new friends.”
The News-Press asked Ms. Wingerden about the NGSS Engineering Design Challenge.
“With the state standards, which were approved in 2013, the program focuses on the inquiry model. Students focus on asking and answering questions,” she explained. “It gives students the opportunity to build and test rockets to see how far and high they can go. It’s a great way to learn. The best way to learn as far as I am concerned is by trial and error.”
The group-oriented program also involves doing an engineering project design to solve problems and answer questions.
Ms. Wingerden spoke to one of the aims of the program being to set freshmen up for success as they enter high school. “Our freshmen who haven’t been on campus yet get this opportunity to meet teachers and friends and introduce them to the campus. We try to mentor them so they have the best start to high school.”
The News-Press asked Ms.Windgerden about some of the most notable rockets of the program.
“When we shot them up, some of them went high enough to catch the breeze, and when their parachutes opened up, they caught the breeze,” Ms. Wingerden said. “Some of them went so high, they couldn’t be seen by the naked eye until the parachutes opened up. You could hear the rocket go up, and everyone would cheer and clap. It was a beautiful day and really a great fun afternoon.”
“We are really hoping to grow the program and increase the number of students that we can help transition into high school,” she continued. “We are already planning for next summer. We hope to bring back alumni next summer as mentors. Think about the program if you have a freshman entering high school next year.”