Altona Middle School Students Win NASA TechRise Student Challenge

A group of five Altona students were selected as this year’s NASA TechRise Challenge winners. The NASA TechRise Challenge is a STEM competition tailored for students in grades sixth through 12th designed to inspire global discovery. By participating in the challenge, students create and test their innovative solutions for space exploration and Earth study. Additionally, they gain hands-on experience in payload design and the flight test process, getting a deeper understanding of space exploration, Earth observation, coding, electronics, and the significance of test data.

Stephanie Basile, Altona Middle School Technology Teacher, selected the NASA TechRise challenge for the school’s Design for a Better World course so that students could have the opportunity to engage in an authentic opportunity that emphasized collaboration. Approximately 50 seventh and eighth grade students from Altona Middle School worked together in groups of four to craft their proposals for the NASA TechRise challenge. “The students’ enthusiasm for presenting their lander idea reflects their belief in its potential impact on future missions and public awareness of lunar exploration,” shared Basile.

The NASA TechRise Challenge tasked students with designing a science or technology experiment that would be suitable for testing on a NASA-sponsored high-altitude balloon flight or a rocket-powered lander. Their experiment, named “Full Model Moon Mission,” was chosen for testing on a rocket-powered lander.

During the proposal process, students delved into the intricacies of the moon’s surface, studying existing human discoveries and ongoing astronaut and scientific research. They gained insights into microcontrollers, sensors, and the diverse types of data they can record and provide. Engaging in the design process, the students developed a scientific question and honed their experiment to study the moon.

“The students’ ability to work together seamlessly, ask insightful questions, and go above and beyond in their efforts has left me immensely proud, and excited for the next phase of the journey,” expressed Basile.

Altona Middle School