Rocket science will be the topic for STEM Saturday with Dr. Mackie from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, May 9, at the Joe Brown Recreation Center, 5601 Read Blvd., New Orleans. To register, visit The cost of a STEM Saturday session is $60, with some financial aid available for those eligible for free or reduced-price school lunches.

STEM Saturday participants will learn about the fundamentals of rockets and participate in hands-on activities to build and launch actual rockets. Unlike jet engines, rocket engines do not need air to work, and can operate in space. Most rocket engines burn fuel, turning it into hot gas that makes the rocket move forward when pushed out the back. STEM Saturday participants will design, build and launch paper rockets, water rockets, air pump rockets, Alka Seltzer rockets and engine-propelled rockets.

Calvin Mackie, a former engineering professor at Tulane University, founded STEM NOLA to expose future innovators, creators and makers to opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math. The College Board recently awarded him its 2015 Dr. Asa G. Hilliard Model of Excellence Award in recognition of his efforts to encourage African-American students to strive for academic success.

The tentative STEM Saturday schedule for the rest of the year is: July 11, Lyons Recreation Center; Aug. 8, Treme Community Center; Sept. 12, Sanchez Community Center; Oct. 10, Cut-Off Recreation Center; Nov. 14, Lyons Recreation Center; and Dec. 12, Joe W. Brown Park.