DoD STARBASE focuses on elementary students, primarily fifth graders. The goal is to motivate them to explore Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) as they continue their education. The academies serve students that are historically under-represented in STEM. Students who live in inner cities or rural locations, those who are socio-economically disadvantaged, low in academic performance or have a disability are in the target group. The program encourages students to set goals and achieve them.
The academies work with school districts to support their standards of learning objectives. A teacher whose class attended DoD STARBASE stated, "STARBASE teaches science and math in ways that we wish we had the time, resources and expertise to do in the regular classroom. It's experiential, exploratory learning with a direct tie to the standards."
The program engages students through the inquiry-based curriculum with its "hands-on, mind-on" experiential activities. They study Newton's Laws and Bernoulli's principle; explore nanotechnology, navigation and mapping. They are captivated by engineering as they use the computer to design space stations, all-terrain vehicles and submersibles. Math is embedded throughout the curriculum and students use metric measurement, estimation, calculation geometry and data analysis to solve problems. Teamwork is emphasized as they work together to explore, explain, elaborate and evaluate concepts.
Ever seen a Black Hawk helicopter up close? How do you think they're built? What about an F-16 fighter jet? How important do you think it is for all the instruments to work correctly? Pretty important, right? Watch the video.