By: Ashley Berrones
Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. That is Newton’s Third Law of Motion, a concept that students in Mr. Gonzalez’s Flight and Space class reviewed during the first few weeks back at school.
Flight and Space is a unique class offered at Gutierrez Middle School of Arts and Sciences where students design, prototype, and test models to learn about the science of flight and what it takes to travel to and live in space.
“We go over the different steps of the design process, the basics of rockets, the basics of propulsion, and we also talk about real world activities and events,” Gonzalez said. “We have a live view of Space X that we dial into every day. We also talk about the International Space Station, space itself, and what astronauts and engineers do.”
The class is for sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students who choose to pursue the science pathway at Gutierrez Middle School of Arts and Sciences.
Brendon Turner is a sixth-grade student in Mr. Gonzalez’s class who has a high interest in math, science, and technology.
“I am fascinated with Elon Musk, rockets, and all that fun stuff,” Turner said. “I am still on the road to find what I want to be in the future. Maybe I will go into telecom. Telecommunication helps to provide internet for hospitals, your physical house, buildings, offices, all of that. My dad works for that and he has shown me a lot of the things.”
In August, students reviewed Newton’s Third Law of Motion by launching bottle rockets they made using a plastic bottle, water, rope, a base, and a few other items.
During their bottle rocket project, students were able to utilize the outdoor learning classroom, an open-air structure, equipped with benches and a sink area, built last year to allow students to learn beyond the walls of a traditional classroom.
“We put water in the bottle rocket and then we pumped air into it to make it fly up really high,” sixth-grader Nelson Snavely said.
Students followed the engineering design process to guide them through their project.
“First we sketched it out,” seventh-grader Diego Botello said. “Then we built it, tested it out, and then through trial and error got it as best as we could. Then we launched the final test. I have always been interested in building something and saying, ‘That’s mine!’”
Flight and Space is a Project Lead the Way classroom which provides a rigorous STEM curriculum that engages students with hands-on activities.
“This year has been amazing,” Gonzalez said. “All my students are amazing. This class is a lot of fun, but I make sure to challenge them every day.”
Throughout the school year, students in Flight and Space will also solve real-world aviation and space flight challenges and plan a mission to Mars.
“Mr. Gonzalez is a great teacher,” Turner said. “He is really good at explaining a lot about Space X which we are both really fascinated by, and it’s really fun.”