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Rocket Scientist Visit: R.F. Bumpus Shoots for the Moon
Posted On:
Friday, November 03, 2017
Mr. Williams and RFBMS Students
Mr. Williams and RFBMS Students

Anna Gilstrap
HCS Contributing Writer

Mr. Frank Williams, a former NASA rocket scientist, visited R.F. Bumpus Middle School on October 16 to meet and discuss his experiences with eighth-grade students, who are currently studying Newton’s Laws of Motion and rockets.

Williams, with the help of famed rocket scientist Wernher von Braun, designed the first rocket to go to the moon right here in Alabama - Huntsville, to be exact. Williams shared stories with the students about his time both as a member of the military and as a civilian, and of course his time at NASA.

Eighth grade science teacher Stan Doran arranged the visit for his students, who were engaged in a science unit related to rockets. For those students, meeting a former rocket scientist was truly out of this world.

“I was excited that Mr. Williams was actually a real rocket scientist that was involved with the first man going to the moon,” eighth-grader Srijan Meesala said.

Applying book knowledge to the real world is where the real learning happens, and this is a thrill for the teachers who push these students every day, Doran says.

“What I have seen by bringing in a ‘stakeholder’ to speak is that the students stretch their minds outside of what they have learned,” Doran said. “The students ask questions that propel them to ask another question then another. When you have true student engagement you have true learning.”

Williams’ visit also propelled students to think about technology we have today.

“It was also fascinating that Mr. Williams sent the rocket to the moon writing out his math. No calculators,” Meesala said.

Sending a man to the moon? Amazing. Sending a man to the moon while handwriting your calculations? Otherworldly. Visits like these are what push students to reach for the stars.

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