Teacher Uses Trip to Teach Students

By: Sean Towle
By: Sean Towle

A teacher at Eau Claire's Lutheran School is using a recent trip to Florida to bring his students some genuine... Rocket science!

"You get to use your mind to make it work," student Dylan Pedersen said.

Students in Eau Claire Lutheran School's Model Rocket Club love to build and launch their rockets.

"Building them is pretty fun," added student Matthew Sippel

But club teacher Andy Heren's interest in the subject sent him on a three day trip last month to get some further learning on the subject.
He went to the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida to talk to NASA engineers.

"NASA and the Wisconsin Space Education Initiative coordinate the grant and there were 16 teachers that went," Heren said.

This was Heren's third workshop with NASA and something he's been interested in for the past decade.

"I've been interested since the mid 90s, about the time that Apollo 13 came out," he added.

And it's not just his interest, but something he can use in the classroom.

"I show them the pictures and try to explain to them how it relates to science," Heren said.
"He relates model rockets to real rockets," Pedersen added.

Heren also lets the kids know that if they enjoy the rockets that this doesn't have to end as a hobby.

"An engineer said they only have bachelors so I tell the kids that this is something they can actually do," Heren said

In addition to the club Heren also uses the rockets as a teaching tool in his fifth and sixth grade classes every year.

"I've been doing this nine years and I've never heard anyone say it's dumb," Heren joked.

The kids agree with their teacher's effort.

"he's a pretty cool teacher," student Nichelle Jennings said.

And even though Heren enjoys the monthly launches in the parking lot he wouldn't be opposed to ones that go a little higher.

"If they wanted to send me up I'd go," Heren added with a grin.


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