National Association of Rocketry
National Association of Rocketry
Educator's Newsletter
February 2020
In This Issue
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Teaching Others to Teach Others

I was particularly excited to hear from a teacher who wants to have a rocketry class to train other teachers in her district and certify them as NAR teachers (narTcert).  In creating the narTcart program I wanted teachers to learn rocketry to teach their students, but also to "teach others to teach others".  The strong growth of a program depends not so much on people just joining the program but also on members replicating themselves to expand and sustain the process. If you are the only rocket teacher in your school, have you trained an assistant or someone to continue the lessons if you leave so the kids can still do rockets?  Have you thought about sharing your curriculum with other schools so that they can launch rockets too, and maybe have a community launch together or an inter-school contest? NAR can help you do all of this. We have the resources and the networks to take your activity to the next level. Contact us if you want more assistance. We hope you have a great year of growth in your STEM classes!
Aim High!
Vince Huegele
NAR Education Chairman
2020 The American Rocketry Challenge (TARC) 

Registration for TARC 2020 is now completed and this is officially the biggest year in TARC's 18-year history.  There are 925 registered teams, the most ever and almost 100 more than last year.  Our previous record was 873 in the program's first year, 2003.  Our AIA partners made growing TARC and getting the word out about it an extremely high corporate priority this year, and the results show it.

The top 100 teams who have entered this year will meet in a final fly-off competition on Saturday, May 16, 2020 at Great Meadow, The Plains, VA. These top 100 teams will be selected based on the duration and altitude scores reported from local qualification flights that they conduct in front of an NAR Senior (adult) member observer at their choice of time up until the flight deadline of April 6, 2020.  The NAR website provides  additional information

The NAR asks all of its Senior (adult) members and its Sections to take an active role in supporting TARC. This event offers a tremendously rewarding opportunity to teach rocketry skills to bright and enthusiastic young people and to "pay forward" to a new generation of rocketeers for the support we once received from others when we were starting out in the hobby. Please use the attached  publicity handout  to get the word out about TARC. Details of the duties of a mentor or flight observer are available in our 
Mentor Guide.  

Mentors are adult (age 21 and above) members of the NAR who volunteer to serve as technical advisors and instructors or coaches to TARC teams. The role of the mentor is to get teams over the initial learning hump of mastering basic rocketry skills; they are not allowed to help teams with their final contest designs. Mentors may also serve as "qualification flight observers."

There are two new NAR resources for teachers who are working with a TARC team and may not have an NAR mentor.  The first is a " Parts Guide for TARC Rockets " showing all the typical parts used in most TARC rocket designs, and what vendor sells them, with what part number(s).  The second is " How to Win TARC ", a guide for how to conduct structured, scientific flight testing to get a TARC rocket onto it performance goal.    Estes Industries has also produced an excellent guide to the basic model rocket skills needed for TARC; it's available via the  TARC page  on their website.

If you want to volunteer as a NAR Mentor, contact NAR TARC Manager  Trip Barber.

Qualification Flight Observers 
Observers are adult members of the NAR who watch a team's official "qualification flight" attempt at a mutually convenient time and place sometime before 6 April 2020. The observer verifies that the flight is conducted within event rules and that the egg payload is uncracked after flight, serves as one of the two stopwatch-equipped timers for the flight, and then records the flight duration and altimeter-reported altitude post-flight. He or she signs the official flight-report form, which is then sent in to the AIA. Qualification flight observers are under no obligation to also serve as a mentor to a team, although they may do so. Observers must be impartial; they cannot be related to any member of the team they observe, be employed by the team's school, or be a member of the team's sponsoring non-profit organization. Impartial adults may join the NAR (online if desired) simply for the purpose of being an observer, if a team is not otherwise able to locate an NAR adult member.

NAR Sections 
Sections help by listing all of their launches on the NAR  "Launch Windows"  web page and by providing free access to these launches and use of Section or personal launch equipment for any TARC team that needs to do a test or qualification flight. 

Only certain NAR-certified model rocket motors of total impulse class "F" and below are approved for flight use. They are enumerated in  this list.

NAR Site Owner Insurance
TARC teams needing "site owner insurance" (insurance which protects the owner of the land used for a rocket launch) in order to gain access to a flying site for their local test and qualification flights may get this through the NAR, just like NAR Sections (clubs) can do. This insurance is available only for actual landowners (including schools and school boards), not for school officials who are concerned about personal liability. It is available for $15, but only to teams whose teacher supervisor is a member of the NAR, and have at least three student team members who are members of the NAR. You can apply for site insurance using  this printable form.

NAR will provide "narTcert" to any NAR member who is a professional classroom teacher with or without a science/math background, an educator teaching an after school program, a home school teacher or an informal educator with a youth organization. This means the opportunity is open to anyone who wants to teach rocketry on any level. The educator can be a total beginner or an experienced flyer, but both will have to undergo the certification process to be identified by NAR as being qualified to launch with students.  Get started today.

NEW Facebook Group
To help build a stronger TARC community, we've created a new  Facebook group  for you to introduce your team, share resources to help others succeed, post launch photos, ask questions to mentors, and interact with other competitors!  


NAR 4322 L3
TARC Manager
Small NAR Logo NAR Scholarship Program, Robert L. Cannon Award, and Extracurricular Activity Grant Awards
Did you know NAR members between the ages of 17 and 22 who are attending college or a vocational school may be eligible to receive a scholarship? Since 2010, we have awarded up to ten $500 Cannon awards and ten scholarships per year.
Are you a teacher or educator who uses model rocketry in the classroom?  You are welcome to apply for a $500 grant to use in your program.

In 2001, the  NAR's scholarship and  Robert L. Cannon educational awards were inaugurated.  Three NAR members received scholarships and two educators received Cannon awards.  Over the years the number of award winners have grown.  In 2015, a new program, the  NAR Extracurricular Activity Grant (EAG) was initiated to provide up to ten $500 grants for after-school activities, such as rocket clubs, scout, Civil Air Patrol, 4-H, or NAR section programs involving model rocketry.  TARC teams are not eligible for these awards.  This year we awarded ten $2000 scholarships, six $1000 scholarships, six Cannon $500 grants, and one Extracurricular Activity Grant (EAG).

In 2018, the Estes family announced the Gleda M. Estes Scholarship for the Advancement of Young Women in STEM. High school seniors and college freshmen majoring in STEM fields are eligible to apply for this $3,000 award.  Recipients of the Estes Scholarship may not receive a NAR Scholarship in the same year but are welcome to apply for the NAR Scholarship in following years.  A separate application is required for the Estes Scholarship:

The deadline for applications is June 1st.  

All of these programs are ongoing.  See for details.  If you have questions concerning these programs, please contact Mark Wise via for the Scholarship program.  Awards are announced at the annual meet (NARAM). You do not have to be present to receive an award.
Experienced Rocketeer Wanted!
There is an open position on the NASA Student Launch STEM program management team.  Teaching experience (formal or informal) and a Level 2 HPR certification are required for consideration.  If you know someone who may be interested in this position, please pass it along.  The link describes the job posting.  The position is listed as "Education Specialist (NASA - MSFC)".  Any applications and interest should be submitted/communicated to Human Resources using the link on the Paragon TEC posting but Fred Kepner on the NASA Student Launch team ( ) at NASA Marshall will be happy to answer any questions regarding the responsibilities of the position or government contract work in general. 

Department of Defense's STARBASE Program 
The Department of Defense's STARBASE program focuses on elementary students, primarily fifth graders. The goal is to motivate them to explore Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) as they continue their education. The academies serve students historically under-represented in STEM.  Students who live in inner cities or rural locations, those who are socio-economically disadvantaged, low in academic performance or have a disability are in the target group.  

The program engages students through the inquiry-based curriculum with its "hands-on, mind-on" experiential activities.  They study Newton's Laws and Bernoulli's principle; explore nanotechnology, navigation and mapping. They are captivated by engineering as they use the computer to design space stations, all-terrain vehicles, and submersibles.  Math is embedded throughout the curriculum and students use metric measurement, estimation, calculation geometry and data analysis to solve questions.  Teamwork is stressed as they work together to explore, explain, elaborate and evaluate concepts.
The military volunteers apply abstract principles  to real world situations by leading tours and giving lectures on the use of STEM in different settings and careers.  Since the academies are located in different branches of the military this experience is highly varied.  Students may discuss how chemical fires are extinguished, learn how injured are transported, explore the cockpit of an F-18 or the interior of a submarine.

The academies work with school districts to support their standards of learning objectives.  A teacher whose class attended  DoD STARBASE stated, "STARBASE teaches science and math in ways we wish we had the time, resources and expertise to do in the regular classroom.  It's experiential, exploratory learning with a direct tie to the standards." Find the STARBASE near you!
HoSmall NAR Logow to Build a Model Rocket  
NAR volunteers have produced 9 pages of excellent basic tutorial material on  how to build a model rocket and a 45-minute instructional video for rocketeers of all ages on all the steps and techniques involved in building and flying a basic model rocket other NAR volunteers have produced. This instructional video has been divided into six short segments of 4 to 9 minutes duration and posted online by the NAR's TARC partners, the Aerospace Industries Association on their YouTube site.

A sincere thanks to all!
Wallops Rocket Academy for Teachers and Students (WRATS)
It's time to sign up for WRATS! The Wallops Rocket Academy for Teachers and Students (WRATS) provides high school educators  with a technical flight experience that will reinforce science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) concepts. WRATS offers an authentic, hands-on rocketry experience based on NASA's sounding rocket engineering and science data collection. WRATS will be held at NASA GSFC Wallops Flight Facility, June 18 - 22, 2018. Teachers interested in attending WRATS should contact Linda Sherman, by email at

The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project (VMMEPP) along with the Google Cultural Institute present the online Viking Mission Museum
Over 300 artifacts from The Viking Mars Missions Education & Preservation Project (VMMEPP) are available around the world via a partnership between VMMEPP and the Google Cultural Institute. Thanks to this new virtual exhibition, users will be able to see a complete set of the Viking Mission Bulletins that guided the public and press through mission preparation, launch and discoveries, a previously unpublished detailed specification for the Viking Meteorology Instrument, a unique White House document required for mission launch; a Lunar Orbiter document by the team that helped NASA Langley win the Viking Project Office, and many other treasures of the museum in just a few clicks at The Viking Mission Museum

LOC Precision
Rockets for Schools
On May 3 & 4, 1996, 240 students participated in the first state-based Rockets For Schools program. NASA Administrator Dan Goldin addressed the students along with Astronaut Col. Mark Lee. Students were briefed on the different aspects of the launch and were given a tour of the different launch stations. 12,000 people were in attendance, as Sheboygan, Wisconsin became the first inland sub-orbital launch site. 

Since 1996, we have had over 20 successful secondary school launches involving students from Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois and Iowa but participation is open to all U.S. students in grades from 6 through 12. This event provides an opportunity for students to participate in aerospace technology and rocket launches: to learn about rocket construction and to perform as part of a team.

Rockets For Schools is a fun and exciting way for kids to learn about space technologies while providing them with an opportunity to be part of an extraordinary team-building event. Additionally, Rockets for Schools is the only other NASA Student Launch Initiative qualifier outside of TARC. For more information write to Rockets For Schools, P. O. Box 684 Sheboygan, WI 53082-0684, call (920) 458-6299, or email  Carol Lutz and  Kenny Bergschultz.

Fun 2 Discover
Fun 2 Discover, the presenting sponsor of Texas Motor Speedway's  Speeding To Read, is providing a free rocket building competition.

Fun 2 Discover will purchase the rocket building kits for every team and also provide more than $6,000 in prizes to help further the students' education in S.T.E.A.M  projects.

NASA astronaut Bruce Melnick, who served as a flight engineer on the first flight of the Shuttle Endeavour and logged more than 300 hours in space, will be part of the judging panel and personally award the prizes to the winning teams in the various categories. He also plans to visit the participating schools and students throughout the competition to offer encouragement as well as take part in the launch event.

For more information on Fun 2 Discover, please visit  or contact Barry Atkins at  or 480.203.6783.

Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFJROTC) 
AFJROTC is a partner with NAR and supports TARC teams.  Get to know your AFJROTC Unit Commander or their education officer and see how you might work together to promote model rocketry.  To find your local unit,  look here  and the search engine will generate a map with unit locations and contact information.  You can also do a simple web search to find the many AFJROTC rocket activities. Alternately, for more information on AFJROTC, contact AFJROTC Headquarters, 60 West Maxwell Blvd., Maxwell AFB, AL 36112-6501; phone 1-334-953-7513,  online .

Engineering and Technology
The work of scientists and engineers impacts our daily life on so many levels,  but sometimes it's hard to isolate just how those professionals contribute to programs we watch on television or items we see in stores. 4-H uses its  Filmmaking Studio and Workshop  and  STEM and Agriculture  programs to help youth understand just how important an interest in science, engineering and mathematics is to advancing our society's access to new technology. The programs provide a unique opportunity to interact with the community through volunteer activities and avenues for the club to engage new mentors who are local industry experts.  Hopefully many of these kids will want to further explore STEM subjects with rocketry.  4-H is a partner with NAR and supports TARC with many teams.

Civil Air Patrol
Civil Air Patrol (CAP) Promotes and Supports Aerospace Education
CAP rocketry programs (for its own members and the general public) help prepare American citizens to meet the challenges of a sophisticated aerospace society and understand its related issues.

CAP offers national standards-based educational products, including a secondary textbook, Aerospace: The Journey of Flight, and the middle-school-level Aerospace Dimensions. Aerospace Education Members can get classroom materials and lessons plans from CAP. 

Civil Air Patrol Aerospace Library
Dedicated to promoting and sharing Aviation, Air Force, CAP & NASA History, the folks at the Civil Air Patrol have put together a fantastic library of rocketry resources !  

The annual National Cadet Competition provides the opportunity for cadets around the country to come together and showcase their aerospace prowess gained through the Cadet Programs Aerospace Education by assembling and launching model rockets as an elective.  

Great Explorations in Math and Science (GEMS) Teacher Handbook

The GEMS Teacher's Handbook is both an introduction to Great Explorations in Math and Science (GEMS) and a clear explanation of the elements included in all GEMS guides available from the Lawrence Hall of Science, University of California, Berkeley. For the teacher considering integrating GEMS into his or her curriculum for the first time, the handbook describes the philosophy behind the series, its alignment with the National Science Education Standards, its flexibility in diverse settings, and the structure of its teacher's guides. For all teachers, including those already familiar with GEMS, the book provides teaching strategies and tips that apply to all inquiry-based science and math activities.

The handbook includes concise discussions on numerous teaching concerns, including assessing student performance, integrating GEMS activities into established curricula, and strategies for obtaining materials. It also provides techniques for handling particular challenges, such as what to do when you, the teacher, don't know the answer, or when students arrive at "wrong" conclusions. Full-page charts summarize the major skills, concepts, themes, and mathematics strands addressed in each of the GEMS guides. Recent editions of the handbook feature "blueprints" for building year-long curricula using GEMS and other activity-based programs.

GEMS Teacher's Guides are clearly organized, easy to use, and do not require any special background in math or science. Each classroom session includes an overview, materials list, and preparation steps, followed by clear, step-by-step instructions for effective classroom presentation. Background information is provided for the teacher, along with photographs, illustrations, and, often, examples of student work. Throughout each guide are comments on presentation strategies and practical advice to help the teacher, many suggested by teachers who tested the units.

NEA Foundation DonorsChoose Organization

The NEA Foundation funds and supports educator-driven solutions to improve student performance. Through our work, we've learned that the best teaching ideas come from our greatest assets, educators. Teachers have great ideas to help their students learn more, but often lack the resources they need to bring these ideas to life. Last year, through our partnership with, we matched public donations to support 1,500 NEA member requests for classroom materials, reaching 120,000 public school students. This year, with your help, we hope to reach even more. Check it out! 


NASA Needs Educators for Microgravity Experience
NASA's Reduced Gravity Education Flight Program and the Teaching From Space Office are seeking applications for teams of K-12 educators to participate in the MicroGravity eXperience, or Micro GX, project. This project gives students and educators across the country the opportunity to work together on an experiment to be tested aboard a microgravity aircraft. This incredible opportunity is open to any current K-12 classroom educator in the United States. Educators must also be U.S. citizens.

Micro GX activities begin with students and educators developing and proposing a reduced-gravity experiment. Selected educator teams will receive online professional development on classroom resources for microgravity, collaboration with a NASA mentor and a reduced-gravity flight. With combined input from their students and mentor, educator teams will design and fabricate their experiments to be tested and evaluated aboard an aircraft that flies approximately 30 roller-coaster-like climbs and dips to produce periods of microgravity and hypergravity, ranging from almost zero gravity to 2 g.

For more information, visit or send an email to .

6,117,549 Have Learned an HOUR of Computer CODE

Learn the basic concepts of Computer Science with drag and drop programming. This is a game-like, self-directed tutorial starring video lectures by Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Angry Birds and Plants vs. Zombies. Learn repeat-loops, conditionals, and basic algorithms. Available in 20 languages.

Space History:

31 January 1958: At  22:48 Eastern Time (February 1, 03:48 UTC) Explorer 1 boosted into orbit atop the first  Juno  booster from  LC-26  at the  Cape Canaveral Missile Annex , Florida. It was the first spacecraft to detect the  Van Allen radiation belt , [2]  returning data until its batteries were exhausted after nearly four months. It remained in orbit until 1970, and has been followed by more than 90 scientific spacecraft in the  Explorer series Explorer 1 was given  Satellite Catalog Number  4, and the  Harvard designation  1958 Alpha 1, [3]  the forerunner to the modern  International Designator .
8 February 1828 Jules Verne, author of science fiction novels such as From the Earth to the Moon, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Twenty Thousand Leagues   Under the Sea, and Around the World in Eighty Days, is born.

February 20, 1962: John Glenn became the first American to orbit Earth when NASA launched him into space aboard Friendship 7 on the Mercury-Atlas 6 mission. The purpose of the mission was to analyze the effects of space on the human body as Glenn completed three full orbits around the planet. 

February 18, 1977: Space Shuttle Enterprise completed its first flight test while attached to a Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft. The Enterprise is now on display at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York

February 25, 1982: NASA launched the Westar IV, a communications satellite for Western Union, using a Delta 160 launch vehicle.

February 5, 1987: The USSR launched the Soyuz TM-2 spacecraft, which connected to Russia's Mir Space Station. This mission marked the second expedition to Mir and lasted 174 days. 

February 23, 1992: NASA launched Navstar 2A-03 to establish the Global Positioning System (GPS), which is used by the military, industry and the general public for reliable navigation around the globe. The GPS uses 24 spacecraft: six satellites in each of the four orbit planes. 

February 11, 1997: NASA launched Space Shuttle Discovery to begin the STS-82 mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope for the second time. The crew members enhanced Hubble's capabilities by replacing two scientific instruments and upgrading other hardware. February 23, 1992: NASA launched Navstar 2A-03 to establish the Global Positioning System (GPS), which is used by the military, industry and the general public for reliable navigation around the globe. The GPS uses 24 spacecraft: six satellites in each of the four orbit planes.  
February 5, 2002: NASA launched the High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager (HESSI) solar flare observatory, later renamed the Reuven Ramaty HESSI. This spacecraft is used to study the behavior of solar flares, including their energy release and particle acceleration.
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