Flávio Azevedo

“Knowing the Stability of Model Rockets: A Study of Learning in Intrest-Based Practices”

Presented By: Flávio Azevedo, Assistant Professor
Department of Teacher Education & Curriculum Studies, UMass Amherst School of Education
Held on Monday, October 22, 2012

Abstract: I investigate knowing and learning in the hobby of model rocketry with the goal of adding texture to socio-cultural theories of learning. Hobbies are paradigmatic of interest-based, long-term pursuits and studying the tailored practices that rocketeers craft for themselves sheds further light on the relationship between the very nature of practices and the learning processes that emerge in their enactment. My window into these issues is the problem of determining the stability of model rockets, across phases of design, construction, and flying. Using ethnographic and experimental data, I catalog various individual and collective ways of knowing rocket stability and describe how they operate to foster and sustain the highly personalized pursuits characteristic of interest-based practices.