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KP TIMES

The student news site of Kingwood Park High School

KP TIMES

The student news site of Kingwood Park High School

KP TIMES

Aeroscience classes focus on more than rockets

Seniors Mason Green and Brooks Laughlin look over their rocket before they launch it during aeroscience class in August.

Team members in aeroscience had little time to build their first rockets, let alone get to know each other. The groups had to work together for a successful launch on Aug. 18, revealing a key objective of the class: developing essential life skills. 

“Yeah we’re a science class, we’re super technical and blow stuff up, but it’s more about can you work in a team, can you communicate, can you manage a project, can you analyze, can you present?” aeroscience teacher Glenn Taylor said. “All of these are work skills, so it’s really a workforce development class. We just use rockets to teach that.”

With their rocket ready to launch, teacher Glenn Taylor gives final instructions to seniors Ryan Royall and Julia Dalton. (Jacob Valcarce)

Teams for each mission are randomly assigned by Taylor with a random number generator. This builds the concept of working with people you aren’t familiar with or don’t like, mirroring the environment of a real-life workplace. 

“I always tell them you’re going to go to work when you get out of high school and do you get to pick the person you get to work with? No!” Taylor said. 

On the second day of school, Taylor dumped a pile of materials onto his students’ desks and told them to build a rocket. He told them to not look up anything, and left them to work with no other instructions. The expectations for their rockets were at an all-time low: just get the rocket to launch. 

They had a week to work on the mission.

“So he kinda threw us in the dark, like we didn’t know anything about it, he just gave us the tools and we had to figure out what to do from there,” junior Holden Spears said, “It was like putting together pieces of a puzzle and figuring out what to do.”

A majority of the rockets were successful on launch day, with the exceptions of a few rockets that skewed to the side and one that only went an inch off the launch rail. 

After the launch, students immediately dove into building their second rocket, using pieces from the first one to improve the new build. 

“It was cool to see that everyone’s rockets actually launched because just launching off it was impressive,” junior David Luna said. “And I like that Mr. Taylor doesn’t really lecture and has such a unique way of teaching, telling us what to improve instead.”

Each mission Taylor assigns gets more challenging as the year goes on. Taylor loves how the structure of the class allows kids the freedom to explore and grow.

“If a student is going to have fun, they’re going to learn something,” Taylor said. “To me, that’s the biggest goal of all education. And if they are having fun and learning, they’re gonna be that much better in some facet of life.”

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