STEM Education Is Out of This World!
At Creek Valley, STEM education is out of this world.
6th grade STEM students have been taking flight in their first STEM challenge of the year. The challenge, Spacecraft Safety, seeks to answer the question of what accommodations are needed to enable manned space flight.
To answer this question, students worked in teams to build a model of a spacecraft using select classroom materials. These materials had to be “purchased” from the classroom store, as the students maintained a team budget of $4.00. Their spacecraft had to include seats for astronauts, a hatch for the astronauts to enter and exit, and even a fuel tank – all while remaining under 150 grams in mass.
“The students learned about gravity and how to design a spacecraft with a goal to transport two astronauts who can land safely to their destination,” said 6th grade Creek Valley STEM teacher Elizabeth Abraham.
“The students also learned how space exploration has changed over the last 6 decades,” 6th grade Creek Valley STEM teacher Amber Athens continued. “We discussed safety precautions taken during space travel, and the effect of gravity on manned space travel.”
At Mission Control, otherwise known as Mrs. Abraham’s classroom, students were challenged by balancing the safety elements with the other needs. “Putting the astronauts in was the hardest part,” agreed students Zoya, Gianna and Sophia. “We were thinking about putting the astronauts on the outside of the spaceship, but our teachers clarified we couldn’t.”
With this important clarification in mind, students faced the ultimate feat – the drop test. During the drop tests, the spacecrafts were dropped from a height of two meters (to simulate landing) and had to land upright. Once the drop test was passed, spacecrafts were then placed in a simulated rocket.
Though a successful drop test was the mission’s goal, teamwork between students was an invaluable lesson learned through the Spacecraft Safety challenge. “It’s really important to rebuild collaboration skills post-COVID,” Ms. Athens said. “This project encourages students to think critically and helps students to develop problem-solving skills.”
Besides these lessons, STEM education also helps prepare our students for the future. “STEM education is important because it lets the students get hands-on experience,” Mrs. Athens said. “We build their knowledge of science and math that they will bring to life in their careers.”
LISD STEM Academy at Creek Valley Middle School is a Carrollton, Texas middle school serving 6th, 7th and 8th-grade students with a unique STEM education experience in the Lewisville Independent School District. Creek Valley feeds into the Hebron High School attendance zone. Follow Creek Valley on Facebook and Twitter to see more student experiences throughout the school year. Join the Lewisville ISD family by enrolling today, or visit Best Schools in Texas to learn more.