School Starts Tomorrow! Here’s Some Information…

Makerbot Replicator 3D Printers
Makerbot Replicator 3D Printers

School starts tomorrow (August 26) at the Academy of Aerospace and Engineering at John Wallace Middle School. We are ready for students and can’t wait to start the school year inaugurating our new program. This week, I finished setting up two new Makerbot Replicator 5th Generation 3D printers–students will be able to print from their laptops using two free computer-aided design (CAD) programs, Sketchup or TinkerCad, that I will teach them.

Mr. Gilbert of GDJ, Inc. with Wind Tunnel
Mr. Gilbert of GDJ, Inc. with Wind Tunnel

I also accepted delivery of our wind tunnel from Mr. Jack Gilbert, president of GDJ, Inc., and a former educator, engineer, and collaborator with NASA in aerospace education. His Flotek 250 wind tunnel is a beautiful piece of equipment which offers many different experiments with wind speed and aerodynamics.

As students come in tomorrow, they will be organized in “crews,” student groups modeled on a NASA space crew. Each crew member will have specific duties, depending on their activity. For the first few weeks of school, up through September 16th, students will be learning about all the aspects of the Academy program. Then on September 16th, we will host an induction ceremony from 5:00 to 6:00PM with food at the Academy classroom one hour prior to the Wallace school open house–students and their families are invited.

For parents, here are a few administrative notes as the year begins.

  • PowerSchool is the best source to see upcoming assignments and grades. I will post grades within one week of an assignment, usually updating all grades each weekend. I will update more frequently at the end of the term or after a major assignment. You will also be able to go to one location on the Wallace school website and see all of your son’s/daughter’s homework assignments–stand by for more information on that.
  • I will be using Google Classroom to assign as much work as possible to students, but when that is not appropriate, I may assign work using a different computer platform, or even on old fashioned paper. The goal is to use Google Classroom whenever feasible.
  • Students should bring in their summer work, especially math, and be prepared to ask questions tomorrow. I will give them one more day, till August 27th, before I collect it and grade it, though they may turn it in early. Several students told me they had trouble doing the Algebra I problems in–that’s okay, as you have not had Algebra I yet, so these were just a warmup–don’t be concerned with your score.
  • **IMPORTANT** I am sending home a letter tomorrow explaining that parents and students are required to attend a laptop orientation session in order to receive and take home a Lenovo laptop that all Academy students will get issued. This orientation will take place on Wednesday, September 2nd at 6 pm in the Martin Kellogg Middle School Auditorium. At this meeting, you will also receive the NPS 1-1 Technology Initiative Procedures (click to read) with consent forms and an optional laptop insurance application (click to read). We will review these documents in detail at the orientation on September 2nd.

As always, contact me with any questions. I am looking forward to a great school year with an outstanding group of students!

Author: Bryan Holmes, Physics & Math Teacher, STEM Competition Mentor

Starting at Thomaston High School in Thomaston, Connecticut, in fall of 2018.

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