Friday was the international kick-off for World Space Week that runs through Thursday, and everything zero gravity was in the air at Alice Drive Middle School.
Experiments involving drones, rockets, hot-air balloons, robotics, moonwalks and smoke …
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Experiments involving drones, rockets, hot-air balloons, robotics, moonwalks and smoke air pressure to name a few were taking place throughout the building, and an all-girl team that sent a spaceflight experiment to the International Space Station two years ago was giving out pointers and advice.
About 100 team-based project proposals were to be turned in by the end of the school day, and one will be eventually selected to board a second flight to the International Space Station in the spring.
The "Space Girls," as they are sometimes called, are now eighth-graders and will spend a good part of the next week sharing their full project experience and answering teams' questions about what can and can't be sent into space.
Alyse King is one member of that four-girl team, and she spent Friday morning in Ms. Marina Mosneaguta's STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) class interacting with various teams.
She said through the spaceflight experiment program from sixth grade she has become more mature, boosted her confidence, and learned to "think outside the box."
Last year, the all-girl team visited a few elementary-feeder schools that go into Alice Drive Middle and shared all the opportunities that would be available to them at the nationally certified STEM school.
The whole experience has also helped her with public speaking, she said.
"When I was little I was like really shy, but I am not shy anymore," King said.
Down the hall, fellow eighth-grader Kaden Burns was using an air cannon to shoot smoke rings to knock down foam-cup pyramid structures from about 25 feet away.
The 13-year-old said he wants to study engineering and physics in college, and he's been working with robots since about the third grade.
Principal Jeannie Pressley said the school has just completed five years on its "STEM journey" and is up for recertification this year.
She said the concepts that students learn through the spaceflight experiment program are far-ranging: from problem-solving skills to project-based learning, leadership, flexibility and determination, among others.
"Just for kids to walk through this process is powerful," Pressley said. "It will help them in any field that they go into, not just STEM."
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