AFMC Command News

Edwards students prove that rocket science is not complicated

  • Published
  • By Laisa Leao
  • 412th Test Wing

Students at Irving Branch Elementary School on Edwards AFB built, painted and launched 12 rockets as part of a practical science, technology, engineering and mathematics project. This hands-on experience allows the student to extend what they have learned in the classroom to the real world.

First, they learned about the role of each part and how the components work together. The students followed precise instructions, paying attention to detail to build functional rockets. Mistakes were part of the plan and provided opportunities to solve problems and control quality of the final product.

“Students demonstrated persistence and determination as they had to do and re-do the same step of the instructions few times until they got it right,” said Nick Cantrell, Teacher at Branch Elementary School.


Next, students painted and named the rockets. The inclusion of art in this STEM endeavor gave students a sense of pride and ownership. It fostered creativity, self-expression, communication and compromise, as students worked in teams that not necessarily had the same ideas and preferences.

Finally, students watched their rockets launch from a safe distance. As their rockets soared into the sky and came back to the ground through the smoke they produced, the time, work and efforts put into this project made sense. The atmosphere was fulfilled with excitement and joy. The rockets performed differently, inciting the students to think critically and explain why. Each rocket’s round trip only took few minutes, but it had a lasting impact on the students.

“The students developed a growth mindset that they will carry with them throughout their lives,” said Cantrell.