WIHS Works with NASA


Wyoming Indian High School students United with NASA to create hardware for the High School Students United with Nasa to Create Hardware (HUNCH) program.

This program gives high school students hands-on opportunities to create projects for NASA, which gives real life tasks to students to improve their skills in their diverse interests. Students are given a chance at a real world opportunity with NASA.

HUNCH’s mission statement is “To empower and inspire students through a Project Based Learning program where high school students learn 21st century skills and have the opportunity to launch their careers through participation in the design and fabrication of real world valued products for NASA.”

 WIHS joined the HUNCH program this school year through Scott Krassin’s Physics class.  

“I was able to get us in HUNCH by applying and doing the paperwork. It took the better part of June. We were selected by the NASA committee, we were the only high school selected this year,” said Krassin. Since then, the “Physics” class has been working on their projects all semester.

Like all the participants in this program, the groups work on their projects from the beginning of September to February. They have six months to complete their projects and present their progress to Florence Gold and Glenn Johnson, who are mentors for the HUNCH projects. In the end, they all have a possibility of being chosen to go and present their projects at the Johnson Space Center in Houston along with having their project being used by NASA. 

There are six types of programs within HUNCH: Design and Prototype, which WIHS is involved, Sewn Flight articles, Culinary, Hardware, Software, Video Media. They all cover different unexpected situations for NASA to be solved by high school students. 

 Design and prototype is for students to develop their original solutions to problems posed by life on the International Space Station. The projects are mostly personal requests by the International Space Station crew to improve living conditions on the ISS. Students can impact the daily lives of astronauts.

 At WIHS, the class has six groups. Two groups are working on a sleeping rack, the ISS crew is uncomfortable and would like better sleeping quarters. Two more projects are the lunar tongs, they have to design a tool that can collect large rock samples. One group is working on a mice dispenser, they have to create a mice dispenser that will meet the requirements of feeding the mice and being in space. Another group is designing a brush to get the dust off the astronauts suits. 

The Sewn Flight Articles program, also called “soft foods,” is a program that uses fabric or other soft materials to create goods requested by different NASA centers. This can go from redesigning the crew pantry to creating kits for the crew’s personal items. 

The Culinary program develops food items for the Astronauts aboard the International Space Station from a general theme idea. Annually there’s a replacement theme given out to the schools where the students produce new dishes taking under consideration food processing, procedure, and nutritional needs so their items can meet the standards for NASA. 

Hardware allows students to create high quality hardware for the ISS. This program has high school students create approved design projects. This is one of the largest programs and must be of high quality and follow stringent guidelines for these projects. This program teaches students about quality assurance.

The software program is the newest. This program seeks high school students to build software applications for the ISS.They work on projects based off of the ISS crew’s feedback and subject matter experts to solve real needs for astronauts and the ISS. 

One group of students, Hailey Jenkins, junior, and Maranda Blackbird, senior, are designing a mice food dispenser to feed the mice that are used for experiments in space. 

Jenkins likes this class and finds it fun. She’s learning to think more and be more creative by participating in this class.

“In the class right now, I am working on elements so I can get a good grade and the class is usually quiet, there isn’t much things but work that goes on,” said Jenkins. “This class is to show what students can do, what they can come up with, when it comes to ideas.”

If you are interested in the programs you can learn more and even get involved at their website, https://nasahunch.com/.