Lochburn students send science skyward  

Lochburn Middle School sixth graders used model rockets to learn about physics and aerodynamics during their science classes on Oct. 12. The hands-on learning opportunity came courtesy of the Washington NASA Space Grant Consortium. 

The program, which is facilitated by University of Washington graduate and undergraduate students, was created to cultivate an interest by middle and high school students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. 

Lochburn science teacher Yasmine Shakoor-Asadi brought the program to the school for the day. Currently in her first year in the Clover Park School District, Shakoor-Asadi previously taught in Georgia and received helpful teaching information and professional development from NASA during her time there. 

When she arrived at Lochburn, Shakoor-Asadi looked into possible opportunities with local science agencies. 

“Since we’re in our space unit in science, I thought it would be great to get students a tactile experience on what they’re learning in class,” she said. 

Students launched two types of rockets. They either designed their own water rockets, using plastic bottles and cardboard fins, or sent traditional model rockets into the lower stratosphere. University of Washington engineering students helped them along the way. 

“I think it’s really powerful for them to have this learning process and create things with their own hands,” Shakoor-Asadi said. “If you’re an engineer, you’re not just reading a textbook and taking a test. You’re designing, testing the models, re-designing. It gives them a real world experience of what a real world engineer is doing.” 

Rockets aren’t the only hands-on learning Shakoor-Asadi’s students have received this year. Volunteers from the Tacoma Astronomical Society also came to Lochburn to help students build models of the solar system and participate in an activity on moon phases.

Students firing rockets