Rocket Science Tutors (RST), a non-profit organization, excites middle school students by bringing scence, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to life with a program conducted by engineers and scientists in the classroom. The RST program mentors groups of students throughout the school year via a 24-week afterschool program taught by degreed engineers and University of California Irvine (UCI) graduate students where a 1-to-5 instructor to student ratio is maintained. The program provides a wide range of technologies - solar power, simple machines, basic chemistry and electricity to name a few.
The Rockeet Science Tutors program is inquiry-based, and hands-on, meaning that students are challenged with building something. Our bridge-building lab introduces students to the design process in which they are required to design, build (from balsa wood that they cut and assemble) and then test to destruct. Our end of year finale is a rocket launch where every student builds, launches and recovers his/her own chemically powered rocket and calculates its maximum altitude using simple trigonometry. These are only a few examples illustrating how RST integrates math and science, exciting students with practical applications.
RST presently operates in the Santa Ana Unified School District where 91% of the students are classified as socioeconomically disadvantaged and 76% of the students are classified as English-language learners. (State of California, 2011 Growth Academic Performance Index Report.) RST is embarking on its 10th year of operation at four Santa Ana middle schools. Santa Ana has over 300,000 residents, with 28% of the city's children living in poverty. The Santa Ana Unified School District has 53,121 students of which 94.3% are Hispanic and 87% qualify for free/reduced fee lunch.