Just outside of historic Downtown Littleton, on the front lawn of Goddard Middle School, stands a rocket. As students enter, they pass by a representation of ingenuity, determination and creative planning for success.

Goddard Middle School was named after Robert H. Goddard, who is credited with creating and building the world's first liquid fueled rocket in 1926. The rocket named Nell, shot just 41 feet during a 2.5-second flight that ended 184 feet away in a cabbage field.

According to the school’s website, “Robert Goddard died in 1945, his pioneering work in rocketry carried on. After World War II, the United States experimented with captured German V-2 Rockets. Based on these experiments the U.S. decided in 1946 to develop its own large liquid-fueled rocket design, to be called Neptune. This was later changed to Viking.”

Vikings at Goddard all participate in a STEM program that teaches a variety of skills that involve a fully stocked woodshop and joint computer lab, combining the hard skills of construction engineering with elements of digital design and computer coding. This unique approach allows students to get their hands dirty, while participating in the design portion of the project, start to finish.

Principal Bryan Breuer says, “The kids here vote with their feet and we’ve built this program out because this is where the interest is. The kids demonstrated to us that this is where they wanted to be and these are the skills that they wanted”.

Students at Goddard seem to enjoy the classes. Comments heard during our taping included, “It feels satisfying to look at something and say, I built that!”, and “This is my favorite class. I know I’m learning but I also feel like I’m playing”.

Goddard’s website says, “STEM at GMS is the study of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math through hands on projects that stress the importance of critical thinking, collaboration, problem solving and design through the use of cutting edge technology and traditional woodworking. This is a class where a student can get excited to create!”

To learn more about Goddard Middle School and their STEM program, visit http://www.littletonpublicschools.net/schools/goddard-middle-school/stem