Sunday, July 8, 2012

2012 ISAS Academy 1 - Day 1

Welcome to the 2012 Idaho Science and Aerospace Scholars Summer Academy blog and media channel. These daily blogs will be posted on the Department of Education website, keeping parents, students, and others informed about the program's activities. The blogs are written by the three following individuals.

My name is Heidi Hughes and I am a blogger for the ISAS program. I recently transferred from a south Idaho college to Lewis Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho and continuing my studies in Communications with a minor in Political Science. This is my first year with ISAS Summer Academy. I recently completed a communication based internship at the Idaho State Senate and am excited to take what I learned there and use it in the blog here.

My name is Jaime Guevara; I am also a blogger for the ISAS program and am attending Boise State for Mechanical Engineering. I am happy to continue being one of the first bloggers for the ISAS Summer Academy and hope that parents will be pleased, not just with the daily blogs, but with the program their children are involved with during this key week in their lives.

The Idaho Science and Aerospace Scholars Summer Academy is a weeklong academic workshop that engages and challenges high school juniors to utilize the knowledge they have gained in their classrooms and apply this knowledge in real life scenarios. The students, while residing and working out of Boise State University, will also undertake a trip to NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California where they will be exposed to the many different STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) careers available to them. While partaking in activities that encourage thought and problem solving skills, the students will also have the opportunity to interact with scientists working in their field on real life projects.

By 2:00 PM, the students had checked into the Academy and were led by their mentors and Director Peter Kavouras to The Discovery Center of Idaho. Here, the students were able to mingle further and had an opportunity to experience many of the different exhibits the center had to offer. Some students even shared what they were excited about. Furthermore they were welcomed personally by Janine Boire, Executive Director of the Discovery Center of Idaho.
Students gather in their teams for the first time

After spending time throughout the center, the students congregated into the front room to disperse into their separate teams: Green, Red, White, and Blue. The teams discussed the Academy rules and chose team leaders. In order to encourage the students to interact outside of their teams, name tags were passed out randomly, requiring the students to become better acquainted with one another. Students laughed as they introduced one another and clearly began to come together as a stronger unit. They will definitely need that cohesion in order to successfully design a manned-mission to Mars.

 The first task that they were faced with was to construct a lunar “egg-drop” carrier. The purpose of this activity was for the students to demonstrate their teamwork and ingenuity by constructing a method that allowed an egg to be dropped from a cherry picker and for it to gently float down without the egg cracking. The ingenuity aspect came from being able to use the supplies they were given such as: rulers, foam, and a plastic bag.

Students building the "parachute" for their carriers

The final event of the night was a project called the "Table Tennis Triathlon". This activity was arbitrated by Woody Sobey, Education Director for the Discovery Center of Idaho, and who was also key in setting up the triathlon. For this project, the students had to use supplies given to them to create simple machines to perform the functions of a catapult, cantilever, and rocket. Each of these different machines must carry with it a table tennis ball and at the same time fulfill certain requirements. Each event was scored and the team with  greatest overall score was declared the winner.

Teams are seen here working on their cantilevers
 Overall, the first day of the new Idaho Science and Aerospace Scholars Summer Academy was very successful, engaging, and fun for students and mentors alike. These blogs will be uploaded daily, and once the students have completed their final activities every night. A more "live" version of the days' events are being uploaded onto the ISAS: Idaho Science and Aerospace Scholars' facebook page. The students have had the chance to meet, and greet with their peers, and are now ready for the oncoming events of the week.

--  Heidi Hughes and Jaime Guevara--

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