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What does it take to nurture budding engineering minds? Plenty!

June 17, 2009

Coppell Gifted Association’s MOSAIC (Marvelous Opportunities Scheduled as Individual Courses) kicked off Summer 2009 with a broad range of enrichment classes. Now in its third year, CISD teachers or other subject matter professionals teach these classes. While enrollment is open to all students, the courses are designed and taught with needs of gifted students in mind.

“This is one of those cases where lots of different people and organizations all work together to create something great,” said Tracy Fisher, MOSAIC Coordinator. “People have come to expect the high caliber of classes that CGA has been able to offer, and as always, proceeds will be used for CISD teacher, administrator, and counselor training in gifted education.”

One successful class was Rocketry, taught by Coppell parent Tod Farrell. “The students learned about the history of rocketry, the importance of proper design, how the center of mass and center of pressure interact – but most important, they had fun building their rockets under the enthusiastic guidance of Coppell High School’s own School of Engineering students!” The weeklong camp ended with launch day, where the prize for the designer/builder of the rocket going farthest was an air-powered rocket launcher.

At first, Farrell was a little hesitant about teaching a class to 4th through 8th graders. “I’ve been an engineer for twenty years, having made presentations to clients and partners internationally – but to be honest, the prospect of standing in front of a group of boys and girls was pretty intimidating.” Farrell needn’t have worried. Mike Yakubovsky, Lead Engineering Instructor at CHS, reviewed and offered suggestions on the lesson plan. Five students – Ricky Bureau, Rob Bush, Elisa Farrell, Rishi Samani, and Chip Zurita – served as assistant instructors. All came through Bill Montana’s Suborbital Aeroscience class and offered real-life experience, having just competed in a rocket launch in April. High School teams from all around the state converged on Fredericksburg; the mission:  carry a one-pound payload to an altitude of one mile. “These high school students were phenomenal,“ Farrell noted. ”They were conscientious, focused, and they genuinely enjoyed sharing what they’ve learned with the younger students.”

“I’m also very thankful that my employer, ATX Group, supported MOSAIC by giving me the schedule flexibility to teach the class. They’ve supported the School of Engineering in the past with matching contributions, and I’m glad that they continue to place value on mentoring future engineers,” added Farrell.

The CHS School of Engineering also benefits. Coppell Gifted Association is making a donation to the Engineering Booster Club in recognition of the outstanding volunteer work of the assistant instructors.

MOSAIC also offers two other engineer courses– LEGOs Robotics and a Buildings and Structures class – civil engineering – that uses the K’nex building system.  Besides engineering, MOSAIC boasts several other courses on topics like creative writing, chess, money, puppetry, and calligraphy.  “The key to the success of our program with its high number of repeat participants is the ‘magic in the classroom’ – the students love their experience learning from professional experts like Tod Farrell who are passionate about their subject matter. MOSAIC couldn’t be possible without the support of the CISD, its beautiful facilities, and some of its top teachers,” said Fisher.

“My son enjoyed the session this summer. He took the Money and Rockets classes and said ‘everything was great’!!!  Thanks so much for organizing this wonderful opportunity. I plan to rearrange our summer escape next year so that he can enroll in both sessions,” said a parent from the recent June MOSAIC session.

One more week of MOSAIC will be offered this summer from August 3rd-7th from 9:00 AM-noon daily. For more information about Coppell Gifted Association and MOSAIC, see www.coppellgifted.org

To see all the exciting things going on at the CHS School of Engineering, see www.coppellisd.com/chs

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