Sunday, July 22, 2012

ISAS 2012 Academy 2: 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 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 was formed in 2010 based off similar programs in both Texas and Virginia. It is a competitive academy for high school juniors. Students apply for the program prior to their second semester of their junior year. Within this process they are required to not only obtain recommendation from a teacher, school administrator or counselor, but also nomination from a state senator or representative. After completing a semester of course work, the top students are chosen to join the week long program. This week they will help create a mission to Mars, tour NASA Ames Research Center in San Jose, California, and explore the potentials of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers.

As this morning progressed, students from across the state showed up at Keiser Hall on Boise State's campus. Some pulled luggage out of taxis and buses while others hugged parents goodbye and high-fived little siblings. However, by the time 2:00 came along, all the students were checked in, and the group began their trek to Discovery Center Idaho.

A giant bubble splattered in one section of the Discover Center, shattering the rainbow on the bubble's curved surface. Other students watched a whirlwind of air and dust twist and twirl demonstrating how hurricanes work. For approximately an hour students were allowed to experiment. They swerved between exhibits pressing buttons to watch demonstrations and trying out some themselves; testing their blood pressure, attempting brain teasers, playing with vibrations and echoes.

Students socializing with their new teams and mentors

 After spending time throughout the center, the students congregated in the DCI's classroom to disperse into their separate teams: Green, Red, White and Blue. It was time to begin the "Planetary Lander" egg drop competition. 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. After the "Planetary Lander" and team meetings, where each group discussed the rules and decided on team leaders and team liaisons, it was time for supper; hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad, beans, and other tasty treats.

Even though it's the first day, students had already outlined their goals for the mission and presented them in front of their peers

 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 were working quickly in order to rack up the points and be crowned the winners of the Table Tennis Triathlon

 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 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, Jaime Guevara -

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