Frankfort Sixth Graders Spend Time at STARBASE
by Jordan Kennedy
Sixth graders from Frankfort began their school year experiencing a wide variety of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) activities during their time at STARBASE. STARBASE is a national program funded through the Department of Defense that strives to expose the nation’s youth to the many STEM related careers within the military. Throughout the course of August and September, our students spent five days at STARBASE in Manhattan, at the National Guard Armory.
Each day upon arrival, we were greeted by the four STARBASE teachers. Immediately students would be engaged in hands-on learning. Students learned in depth about Newton’s three laws of motion with many different stations that demonstrated the laws. A “favorite” by students was a project called “Lieutenant Eggburt” where students practiced the Engineering Design Process, and dug into Newton’s Three Laws. Students were given a list of materials they could purchase, a small amount of money, and an egg. With the given materials students had to design a way to pad the egg as it traveled down a slope in an apparatus, and then made impact with a wall. After a trial run, students went back to the drawing board to modify their design, while still staying within the given parameters. After each project, the instructors made sure to relate the students’ experiences with a career that they were familiar with.
Some of the other major concepts that students were taught during their time included Bernoulli’s Principle, Exothermic/Endothermic Reactions, Physical/Chemical Changes, Nanotechnology, Atmospheric Pressure, and Computer Aided Design. Each of the five days students were taken through multiple activities, with little to no down time. The instructors ensured that each minute of our day was filled with some sort of STEM related activity. Most of these activities utilized resources that would be too expensive or rare to bring to our own classroom. I can say without hesitation that each student learned so much from this experience. We are so thankful that we were able to go!