iSchool for the Future had the pleasure of teaming up with Orbital ATK in Dulles, VA to present a STEM Expo and Rocket Contest on Take our Daughters and Sons to Work Day, (April 28, 2016). In line with the national event, our theme was “Sparking Aha! Moments.” We achieved this through hands-on experiments and thought-provoking activities about the space and satellite work at Orbital ATK and the life skills needed to succeed there. Children enjoyed the activities and gained a lot more respect for their parents’ jobs!
As part of our program, children always reflect on what they have learned. Children wrote down things they learned about their parent’s jobs, including:
– “How much thinking is involved”
– “That the job they do, not everyone can do”
– “It is actually a lot harder than I think it is”
– “That they have to do a lot of things before they launch a rocket”
In the first part of the day iSchool organized a STEM Expo highlighting different aspects of the fascinating space and satellite projects that their parents work on at Orbital ATK. Stations followed two themes: 1) the work done at Orbital ATK and 2) the skills needed to succeed at the organization.
In the second part of the day, children worked on a Rocket Challenge to design and test two different types of rockets: 1) a Stomp Rocket that would protect a jellybean payload, and 2) a Water Pressure Rocket that would protect an egg after shooting 100 feet into the air! Learning was emphasized and encouraged through an Orbital ATK-specific worksheet connected to prizes:
5 Subsystems of a Satellite:
1. Electrical / Power Subsystem – Children played with a MakeyMakey and routed SnapCircuits around an image of a satellite.
2. Thermal Structures Subsystem – Children compared the energy signature from a satellite facing the sun versus and eclipsed one, using an iPad app.
3. Mechanical Subsystem – Children made and compared rectangular versus circular origami solar arrays.
4. Software Subsystem – Working in pairs, children “coded” their partners through space by giving directions to move through a grid and avoid obstacles.
5. Guidance and Navigation Subsystem – Children tried out a Bicycle Tire Gyroscope.
Learning more about satellites:
6. Building and Orbiting a Satellite – Children employed their creativity and knowledge of the minimum parts on a satellite to build one and hover it in a wind tunnel.
7. Shake Tables – Children learned about Shake Tests performed on satellites before they are launched into orbit, and then made their own shake-resistant structures using raisins.
8. Satellite Sound Tests – Visitors were awed to see the patterns caused by sound, using a Cymatic Plate and salt.
9. Influence of Air Pressure – Children learned some of the basics of air and air pressure while making paper helicopters.
10. Cygnus Demo – Children got to navigate a model of the Cygnus Satellite
Life Skills to Succeed at Orbital ATK
10. Communicating for Success – Teams worked together to do a “Blind Build” and effectively talk their partner through a design.
11. Skills Bingo -Children learned about the many Life Skills (that iSchool develops) they need to develop while playing a game of Bingo!
12. Project Management – Children learned about the importance of brainstorming, collaboration, planning, execution, and reflection while building marshmallow and spaghetti towers.
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