Friday, August 2, 2013

Caroline Wenzel's Students Have The Right Stuff!!!

Thousands of children descend upon the Kennedy Space Center in Orlando Florida each and every summer with dreams of becoming the next  Neil Armstrong, Sally Ride, Dr. Guion Bluford Jr., Sidney M. Gutierrez, Anousheh Ansari, or Chris Hadfield (The Singing Astronaut). Well this summer at Caroline Wenzel through Sacramento City Unified School District's Summer Quest Program, the highly talented and dedicated staff of Sacramento Chinese Community Service Center proved that you didn't have to travel 2,936 miles to embark upon your path to becoming an astronaut.

Over 200 1st - 6th graders from Sacramento City Unified took part in Sacramento Chinese Community Service Center's version of a seven week long space camp.Using curriculum that was created by NASA, students (for an hour each day) took part in inquiry-based, hands on activities that let them explore the following STEM concepts:

Week 1:

Bernoulli's Principle: Students were introduced to Bernoulli's Principle that allows wings to produce lift and allows planes to fly.

Week 2:

The 3rd Law of Motion: Students learned about Sir Isacc Newton's law of motion and the generation of thrust by a rocket engine.

Week 3:

Rocket Payload System: Students learned about rocket payload systems and the future of space travel.

Week 4:

Spacecraft Lander: Students built an aircraft that can absorb the shock of landing.

Week 5:

Space Gardening: Students will create mini growth chambers and track the growth and characteristics of NASA's Space and Earth cinnamon basil seeds.

Week 6:

Summer Motto: The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. In small groups, students created their own planet; which entailed designing the characteristics of the planet, the resources that the planet had available, the structures that they would live in, as well as the government of the planet.

Week 7:

The students took a field trip to the Aeronautic Museum and developed a resume' for NASA to be flown in the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle on Spring 2014.

Student Voices: Here are what some of the students had to say about the STEM activities at Caroline Wenzel.

Harry (6th Grade Student): "They taught us more about science than my regular school."

Elias (6th Grade Student): "We got to do a lot of fun experiments and this was also the most I learned about science."

Nataly (5th Grade Student): " We learned a lot about STEM this summer. It also made me think that I might want to become an astronaut."

For more information about the NASA curriculum and program design of the STEM activities at Caroline Wenzel, please contact Carla Pareja at

The Engineering Design Process used to create all of their spacecrafts this summer.

One of the many spacecraft lander vehicles created this summer by the students.
One of the living quarters designed for one of the new planets that the students created.
Space garden. The students are monitoring the growth of Earth seeds vs Space seeds.

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