Woodbridge Middle School students got an intensive course in the wonders of math and science last month. That's when the school partnered with Rutgers University’s Engineering Honor Society, Tau Beta Pi, to offer 12 students a fun afternoon of building model rockets and learning about the role momentum plays in movement.
The school's engineering students are preparing for their third consecutive year of competition in the New Jersey Future City Contest. In preparation for January’s competition, Woodbridge Middle School teacher Richard Dosch and Tau Beta Pi NJ Chapter President Adam Pizzaia established a team building event that would allow the middle school students to work with college juniors and seniors on the science of rocketry.
“Our students are committing themselves to this competition for the next four months, we thought this would be a great opportunity for them to talk and have fun while at the same exploring the amazing field of engineering," Dosch said.
It was the second year for Pizzaia with Woodbridge Middle School. Last year, he volunteered to work with the engineering program and identified the school's efforts as an ideal candidate for the MindSet program.
Tau Beta Pi established MindSET with the objective of partnering with local schools to create and establish programs to assist students in making the connection between math and the world around them, Dosch said. Students who are awakened to the joys of math and science may pursue careers in the STEM disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Dosch along with Marty Genser, the parent of a student, and teacher John Blasena, have been working with the engineering pupils and were eager to accompany the students to Rutgers for the rocketry experience. During the visit, the students worked hand-in-hand with college mentors learning how to calculate the momentum of an object's movement, as well as how to convert a soda bottle into a high-flying projectile with the assistance of water and air pressure.
“I really enjoyed learning how wing design could influence a rocket's flightpath”, said student Nicole Genser.
Through a collaborative effort, Woodbridge Middle School's engineering program is dedicated to providing its members with experiences that are enjoyable, educational, and engaging, Dosch said.
With the assistance of teacher, parent, and community volunteers and local universities such as Rutgers and the College of New Jersey, students have studied topics that include solving the Rubik's cube, designing and sewing clothing, and explaining the buoyancy factors that allow a concrete canoe to float.
This year the program plans to continue to promote its program’s philosophy, Dosch said: “You know what you know when you know; however, the more you know, the less you know about it.”