SystemsGo Rocketry Training

Brazosport High Instructor Completes SystemsGo Oberth Rocketry Training
Posted on 08/24/2018
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Students to take on transonic rocket challenge as a result

Training was offered over the summer to accommodate the rapid growth in the SystemsGo program this year, which added 22 schools and expanded classes within existing schools across the nation.

The training covered all levels of the innovative project-based curriculum that uses rocketry to teach STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) and workplace skills, and this year Brazosport High School’s rocketry instructor Chris McLeod joined the training with the intent to take his students to the next level in the SystemsGo program known as the Oberth Level. This level gives students the opportunity to design and build a rocket with the potential of flying through the sound barrier. “I am excited about the students taking on the challenge of a transonic rocket!” McLeod shared.

SystemsGo was developed at Fredericksburg High School, Texas by Brett Williams in 1996. Using project-based instruction, students progress from drafting, CAD, and engineering design to building and launching rockets. The goal at the Tsiolkovsky Level is for rockets to loft a one-pound payload one mile high. The goal at the Oberth Level is to design and build a vehicle that reaches the speed of sound. Advanced students travel to White Sands Missile Range to attempt to reach 100,000 feet while carrying a scientific payload, which was launched by our Brazoswood High School students last summer.

“We introduce them to the teaching philosophy of SystemsGo, then model the stages of learning their students will experience,” said Rebekah Hyatt, Program Director of the training. “There is a huge shift in pedagogy. Using Socratic method of questioning as opposed to giving answers to student questions is quite different for many teachers. Seeing the value of ‘failure’ as a learning opportunity is also quite different. It is best for teachers to experience this firsthand so they get a deeper understanding of how it increases accountability and ownership.”

The shift in approach is challenging for teachers using it for the first time, said Hyatt, who taught the program for 10 years at Midlothian ISD and Maypearl ISD before joining SystemsGo in 2016. But they embrace it.

Career-wise, a high percentage of SystemsGo students go on to study STEM related fields in college and end up working for organizations such as NASA, the Department of Defense, SpaceX, and other private sector aerospace and engineering firms.

Information on starting a program or supporting the nonprofit organization is available at, 830-997-3567,

Rocketry Program Levels:Rocketry Whiteboard

Tsiolkovsky Level

Aeroscience curriculum
Three small rockets
One-pound to one-mile

Oberth Level

History of rocketry
Math model flight profile
Fly through the sound barrier

Goddard Level

Math model
Design all components
Launch 35 pounds to 100,000 feet

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