SpaceX Engineer and SMES Alumnus Gives Lesson on Rockets to Grade 3 Tartans

SpaceX propulsion engineer and St. Margaret’s alumnus Charles Cox ’11 visited with Grade 3 students this week and gave a lesson on space rockets, including the basics of how rockets work and exciting updates on SpaceX’s goal of manned missions to Mars.
 
Mr. Cox spent time explaining the basic math and science behind propelling a rocket into space. He even explained how rockets stay in orbit, and how SpaceX developed a way to softly lands rockets vertically for re-use.
 
He also spoke about SpaceX’s ambition to send and support life on Mars in the next decade, including sharing a recently publicized photo of the retro-looking Starship rocket that was built in Texas for test flights.
 
Mr. Cox’s visit aligned with an interdisciplinary unit Grade 3 students are beginning that explores and solves the challenges of feeding astronauts in space, in particular for longer missions like a trip to Mars. The students were able to ask Mr. Cox relevant questions about their project, from how long a round-trip to Mars could take to how a rocket could support the weight of the needed food and water for long manned missions.
 
“Having Charles share his expertise was a thrill for our grade 3 students,” Lower School Library teacher Melissa Fisher said. “He provided great insight, related to the students very well and introduced them to some complex topics that await them in their upcoming ‘Mission to Mars’ interdisciplinary unit.”
 
The grade 3 students will brainstorm nutrition, taste, texture, variety and weight to “think like a food scientist” and determine which foods would be smart to pack for a round-trip flight to Mars. Additionally, students will invent and 3D-print an eating utensil to assist astronauts with the challenge of eating in zero gravity.  
 
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An independent preschool through grade 12 college-preparatory day school in Orange County, California