LA PUENTE, CA – Twenty-four students from Bassett Unified’s Edgewood Academy and Torch Middle School carefully filled the clear tops of their rockets with gummy bears, crayons and parachutes to reach the precise weight required for a successful launch.

This select group of Bassett seventh-graders are participating in Citrus College’s Rocketry Outreach Program to get hands-on experience designing, building and launching rockets.

“I’ve learned that there are many more parts that go into building a rocket than I thought,” seventh-grader Erika Ceron said. “On the exterior it looks simple but there are a lot of compartments inside that are really important.”

Program participants work in teams under the leadership of Citrus College’s Rocket Owls science team as they apply physics principals to predict the performance of the rockets and use mathematical models to analyze data from the launch.

Citrus College’s physics department facilitates the year-long program. The Rocket Owls mentor students over the course of five sessions as part of the community outreach component for NASA’s Student Launch Program – a research-based, competitive opportunity to develop rocket propulsion systems.

The program kicked off November 2017 with an egg-drop competition to introduce students to some of the concepts they would be exploring. After building the rockets in December, the seventh-graders prepared for the January launch by checking the safety of the rockets and making adjustments to ensure a successful flight.

Bassett students will meet again Friday, Feb. 23 to analyze the data from the rocket launch and to prepare presentations for a symposium and award ceremony, which will be held Saturday, March 24.

“The goal of the program is to increase our students’ interest in science, technology and math, while also enhancing communication and teamwork skills,” Bassett Unified’s director of policy and business partnerships Linda Bermudez said. “We are thrilled to begin this partnership with Citrus College that empowers our students to set educational goals.”

The Rocketry Outreach Program launched at Glendora Unified District four years ago, and this is the first year Bassett Unified has participated. Students are selected for the program based on science teacher recommendations.

“STEM curriculum is part of the well-rounded education we provide for our students, and these experiences will help to shape their academic careers,” Interim Superintendent Debra French said. “We would like to thank Citrus College for helping provide our students with this incredible opportunity.”


021318_BASSETT_CITRUS_ROCKET_1: Bassett Unified seventh-graders prepare to launch their rockets at Citrus College through the campus’ Rocketry Outreach Program to get hands-on experience designing, building and launching rockets.

021318_BASSETT_CITRUS_ROCKET_2: A group of Bassett Unified seventh-graders receive help from a Citrus College student on putting the final touches to their rockets before launch.