Ss. Simon Jude students win Aerospace Challenge

Seventh-graders from Ss. Simon and Jude won the final round of the Aerospace Challenge Feb. 28 and will visit  the Johnson Space Center in Houston. (courtesy photo)
Seventh-graders from Ss. Simon and Jude won the final round of the Aerospace Challenge Feb. 28 and will visit the Johnson Space Center in Houston. (courtesy photo)

Arizona is amid a two-month “SciTech Festival” aimed at exciting residents about how science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) will drive the state into the future.

Some 1,300 students on 300 teams across the Grand Canyon State who competed in the annual Honeywell Fiesta Bowl Aerospace Challenge didn’t need such encouragement. They already embraced the state’s largest extracurricular STEM program for elementary students.

A team of seventh-graders aced the challenge at the Feb. 28 finals competition. Under the direction of Maureen Hill, science teacher, the students developed an International Lunar Base and physical scale model. They earned an all-expense paid VIP trip to the Johnson Space Center in Houston and a special on-field experience at the next Fiesta Bowl.

The Aerospace Challenge allows fifth through eighth grade students the opportunity to enhance their knowledge of space technology. It also incorporates math, science, social studies, language and fine arts. They applied critical problem-solving, communication, team-building and decision-making skills to create their lunar base and answer questions from judges.

Ss. Simon and Jude is the only repeat winner of the Aerospace Challenge. Its students also won in 2001, 2004 and 2011.