Regional high school teachers launch rockets during professional development session. EDWARDSVILLE – With school starting right around the corner, 14 regional high school teachers are prepared to implement their newly learned skills in rocketry thanks to a professional development session held at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville earlier this summer.

“The objective of the professional development session was to train the teachers on single-stage rocket kit and how to implement the project in their own classes,” said Michael Denn, PhD, instructor in the Department of Mechanical Mechatronics in the School of Engineering.

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“Our goal is for the single-stage rocket class to generate interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM),” Denn added. “Specifically, we encourage interest in space-related technologies by having students participate in a rocketry project that combines theory with hands-on experience.”

Denn along with SIUE’s Jeffrey Sabby, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Physics in the College of Arts and Sciences, led the teachers through the coursework, and the building and launching of the rockets.

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"The attending teachers were trained in all aspects of our single-stage rocket kit, avionics bay, data acquisition and data analysis during the session,” said Sabby. “With our system, any of the teachers using our equipment will be able to reproduce this experience at their schools for their students.”

“To me, this is a very powerful and exciting learning tool,” said Sabby. “It is my hope that this opens a pathway for students who want to engage in the STEM fields and possibly steering them toward a career in STEM.”

The class was funded by the Department of Defense’s National Defense Education Program and held in the STEM Center at SIUE.

The School of Engineering offers one of the most comprehensive and affordable engineering programs in the St. Louis region with eight undergraduate degrees, five master’s degrees and two cooperative doctoral programs, all housed in a state-of-the-art facility. Students learn from expert faculty, perform cutting-edge research and participate in intercollegiate design competitions. Companies in the metropolitan St. Louis area provide students challenging internships and co-op opportunities, which often turn into permanent employment.

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