Nearly 200 students and 30 plus staff from Manteca Unified School District’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) elective program gathered together at Snow Ranch in Farmington on Saturday to launch their CanSat payloads aboard high-powered rockets.
The students and their teachers have been working all year to construct their CanSats – a simulated satellite that fits in a soda can. Inside the CanSat are sensors that collect data on acceleration, barometric pressure, humidity, temperature, GPS and magnetic field. Throughout the year, as the students soldered these sensors and constructed their CanSat, they were learning about rocketry and also about all of the science related to these sensors.
For the remainder of the school year students will be busy analyzing the data collected by their CanSat and communicating their scientific results to the members of their school community.
Launch logistics were facilitated by volunteers from LUNAR, the Livermore Unit of the National Rocketry Association and coordinated by Magnitude.io, the creators of the CanSat curriculum. Each high-power rocket launched a pair of CanSats over a mile high.
Student teams were then tasked with rocket recovery – often hiking over a mile or more to retrieve their rocket. When not preparing, launching or recovering their rockets, students and their teachers participated in other activities throughout the day including smaller rocket construction and a GPS scavenger hunt to Indian petroglyphs and other rock formations at various locations surrounding the launch site.