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MFHS students prepare for rocket launch May 4 

MFHS students prepare for rocket launch May 4

Marble Falls High School juniors Zachary Sims-Butler (left), Jacob King, Bernando Dominguez, and Capone Maynard (standing) work on their rocket as they prepare for their Systems-Go launch day in Fredericksburg on May 4. Not pictured are team members Kaleb Gleason and Natasha Narvarez. Courtesy photo

Six Marble Falls High School juniors will send their classroom project sky high during the annual SystemsGO rocket launch, which is May 4-6 in Fredericksburg. Marble Falls is one of 16 schools taking part. 

The local crew’s launch time will be on May 4 at the site, 2187 Double Horn Road.

Students Bernando Dominguez, Kaleb Gleason, Jacob King, Capone Maynard, Natasha Narvarez, and Zachary Sims-Butler have been working on the more-than-4-foot-long rocket since late January. They’re aiming for their craft to travel one mile into the air while carrying a one-pound payload.

“Students love more interactive activities,” said Lindsey Todesco, an engineering and robotics teacher at MFHS. “It makes the learning real and meaningful. They see the actual outcome of their work as opposed to a traditional learning model.”

Todesco utilized a project timeline to keep students on track for takeoff during the multi-month process.

“I need to make sure the students have enough time to fail several times before they get to the finished product,” she said.

Spectators are invited to the event, but launches will follow no fixed schedule. They will go up during all daylight hours after certification from SystemsGO officials for launch and recovery.

SystemsGO is an interactive curriculum that relies on project-based learning to teach science, technology, engineering, and math. It also encourages students to collaborate and use problem-solving techniques through its lessons. The program is used in high schools in Texas, New Mexico, Oregon, and Colorado.

Todesco said the curriculum differs from traditional lesson plans by making students accountable for their projects.

“It puts the learning directly on the students,” she said. “They are responsible for the final product.” 

Roughly 60 rockets from 16 different high schools will lift off before the three-day aerospace extravaganza wraps. 

The launch site will have limited food and bathroom facilities. Organizers encourage spectators to bring lawn chairs and tent covers. While admission is free, advanced registration to sign a waiver is required. You can follow the launches via a livestream provided by SystemsGO.