Birchwood Students Soar at Young Astronaut Day

Science-minded students from Birchwood School of Hawken brought home winning accolades from the 28th Annual Young Astronaut Day, hosted by Cleveland State University, on Saturday, Nov. 5.
Competing against nine other teams, the Birchwood Mission Specialist Team (made up of eighth graders) won top honors, taking first place in the Mission Specialist category and Birchwood’s Pilot Team (made up of fourth graders) earned second place out of 15 teams in its competition.
The Birchwood Young Astronaut Day team is directed by science teachers Ms. Linda Brown and Mrs. Rana Bottino.

Young Astronaut Day brings together students who reach for the stars through their academic interests to explore the same challenges that engineers are working on to get people back to the moon and Mars. The competition stresses engineering tasks that require the kids to work together creating and testing prototypes over a two-hour period.
Birchwood students also earned individual awards in the following events:
Mission Specialist Team
  • Space Communication: Ted Alten, Ishika Chand, and Jonathan Samulak – 1st place
  • Gaining Traction on Mars: Sana Bahadur and Stephen Parrino – 2nd place
  • Rover Navigation: Ted Alten and Jonathan Samulak – Honorable Mention for quickest turnaround time
Pilot Team
  • Remote Sensing: Ginny Bardwell and Kit Weinmann – 2nd place
  • Solar Shield: Anne Fei and Tzurielle Parrino – 3rd place
  • Rockets Away: Aansh Sahoo and Rami Salam – Honorable Mention for their experimentation with launch angles
Young Astronaut Day began in 1992 and is an outreach event of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics for students in grades 1-12. The competition’s fun events build enthusiasm among students for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education and careers.