It's Really "Rocket Science" for These CNY Grade School Students

Jul 11, 2014

The term “rocket science” actually means something to the 3rd through 8th graders enrolled in Aerospace Engineering Camp at OCC's College for Kids…like, what goes up must come down, but not always where you expect.

That falling rocket had kids and news reporters scrambling to avoid getting hit.  Scott Stagnitta has been teaching this course for 14 years.  He’s also an engineering and technology teacher in the Skaneateles School District.  Stagnitta says Friday morning’s water and air-powered launches were a culmination of a week of math and engineering lessons on aerodynamics, balance, launch angles, and geometry.  He’s learned it’s all in how you present it. 

Teacher Scott Stagnitta launches a rocket.
Credit Scott Willis / WAER News

Camillus Middle School 6th grader Kelsie Bottari decided to add an experiment of her own inside the rocket.

Onondaga Hill Middle School 5th grader Charles Knoll's rocket was a little more unpredictable…he put a positive spin on it. 

Teacher Scott Stagnitta says wind or a loose golf ball in the nose cone might have been to blame for the erratic landing path.  He says they’re good teaching moments about engineering, which don’t necessarily mean failure.  Stagnitta hopes that’s what kids take away.

And it’s kids like Kelsie Bottari who have to make teachers like Stagnitta feel they’ve succeeded. OCC's college for kids continues through the end of the month.