Monday, July 8, 2013

ISAS 2013 Academy 1: Day 1

Hello and welcome to family members, friends and others who are following the activities of the Idaho Science and Aerospace Scholars.
My name is Camille Eddy and I will be writing the blogs, posting media updates and photographing the events that happen at the Academy as well as the many students, professionals and other individuals who make up this program. I am a former ISAS Academy participant myself (ISAS 2012) and in the fall I will be attending Boise State University majoring in Mechanical Engineering. I hope to give you more than just a glimpse of how much fun these students are having every day at the Academy. You can check out many more photos on the ISAS Facebook Page and receive frequent updates as they are happening on the ISAS Twitter page.

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. 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.

Around eleven o'clock today students began arriving and checking in to Kieser Hall. After check-in the students had time to meet each other and group into their teams. Then the time finally came for the students to make the short walk to the Discovery Center of Idaho where the fun began. They had the chance to look around the Discovery Center and experience the different exhibits it had to offer.

Students make a structure using thin wooden blocks.

The students were then brought to a classroom in the Center where they would construct a planetary lander. This lander needed to deliver a payload safely to the ground. In this case the payload was an egg. The students were given a limited amount of materials to work with and had to come up with a design themselves. This then led to the launching of the planetary landers from fifty feet in the air. Each team was able to successfully launch a lander without breaking an egg. Special thanks to Carl Baker of Quality Electric and Corey Morasch of Micron for making this launch possible.

Students explain their team's planetary lander to the rest of the group before the launch.

A little bit later it was time to introduce each other to the group. Students were given a random name tag and then had to find that person to learn a few things about them to say before the group. The introduction concluded with the student's hometown being pinned on the board.

Each Academy member was introduced by another student who placed their pin on the map.

The map of our 2013 Idaho Science and Aerospace Scholars.

Then they continued with the introduction of team names, patches and white pages. Each presentation was well thought out, with very relevant and purposeful team names like "Destination Red" from the Red Team or "Habiture Aster" from the Green Team meaning, 'living among the stars. All of the patches were well designed and we hope to see you at the banquet on Saturday where you can see these patches up close. White Team made a first for the Academy in that they put their patches on buttons to wear.
Each white page for the teams needed to detail the parameters in which they will be working, as each team has a specific part of the mission to work on. Blue Team, who will be focusing on working on Mars, concentrated on how Mars will benefit us as humans, and how much more we can accomplish with this new area of exploration.

Soon after this the students participated in the Ping Pong Triathlon facilitated by Woody Sobey of the Discovery Center of Idaho. Each team was given materials to construct a cantilever, a free standing structure the extended up and away from a base and a ping pong at the end. They constructed a catapult that sent the ping pong into the air and they also constructed a ping pong rocket that would be propelled by a stomp launcher.

White Team works on their catapult. 

As you can see ISAS students are launched into rigorous activities right away. And today was a great example of fantastic students easily interacting with each other and engaging enthusiastically with the activities of the academy. They have begun to form good team relationships and an awareness of the hard work it will take to successfully plan a mission to Mars, and all on the first day!


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