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Piedmont Middle STEM Classes Launch Rockets

Eighth grade students learned the engineer design loop process by creating and launching paper rockets in their STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) class with Mrs. Outen. The engineer design loop process includes several steps that begin with defining the problem or challenge and ending with testing their prototypes.


Students (or engineers) were provided with a scenario that a toy company was planning to release a new air-powered rocket designed for children ages 12 and up that would attract children to play outside. The toy company theorizes that modern children are so immersed in electronic gaming systems and cell phones and that they will enjoy a chance to operate a more mechanical toy as part of the toy company’s “Revival Collection” of simpler toys as a completely new concept.


The engineer teams researched, brainstormed and analyzed potential rocket designs before constructing their two prototypes. These prototypes had to meet specific criteria to include the ability to withstand multiple launches.


Testing and evaluating the prototypes was the final stage of the design loop process. Engineer teams  placed their prototypes on a pvc pipe rocket launcher attached to an air compressor. Finally, STEM students documented results in their engineer notebook which was another component of this weeklong project.


STEM jobs are growing at 1.7 times the rate of non-STEM jobs. The Obama administration is investing millions of dollars to produce an additional one million STEM undergrads by 2022. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, STEM graduates are highly sought after and earn higher wages than their non-STEM counterparts. A technical degree is considered the best foundation to give you the most choice in this economy.

Written by: Deanna Outen
Posted: May 22, 2015 by Judy Davis

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