STARBASE students explore a new world

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Ashley Maldonado
  • 4th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The instructors of the Science and Technology Academies Reinforcing Basic Aviation and Space Exploration program can attest that the science of flight, gravity and the military is intriguing to many children.

More than 40 rising fifth-grade students broadened their horizons through the STARBASE program, June 19 - 23, 2017, at Greenwood Middle School, Goldsboro, North Carolina, and Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina.

STARBASE is an international curriculum which concentrates on hands-on science and math activities. The program aims to motivate children at an early age to pursue focuses outside the classroom and apply their new knowledge to real world situations. Students from both military and civilian families learn basic standpoints of aviation through classroom activities and tours of the base.

“STARBASE is a fun and cool opportunity for everyone, whether or not you have family in the military,” said a STARBASE student. “I think everyone should sign up.”

The students are dispersed into four groups, or flights, with a teacher assigned to each. Each day throughout the week, students conduct experiments pertaining to their flight’s subject. Flights rotate daily through four different subjects: laws of motion, compass reading, air dynamics and rocketry; the experiments the students undertake also demonstrate the importance of teamwork and acting together to accomplish each task.

The classroom experiments involve the students building paper airplanes, model rockets, and learning to read a compass, as well as the laws of gravity and the principles of drag, force and thrust.

“As a whole, STARBASE focuses of teamwork,” said Jaclyn Thompson-Dawes, STARBASE instructor. “I think no matter what happened, the kids saw that no single part of the rocket was more important than the next, and if it wasn’t assembled properly, then it wasn’t going to work. Each tour we took, they noticed one person couldn’t do the job alone. It had to be everybody. That’s the main focus of STARBASE: how you can incorporate science, teamwork, character and fun. The kids love it.”

During the tours, students experienced F-15E Strike Eagle flight in simulators, had their faces painted in a camouflaged pattern, watched aircraft take off and land from the watch tower, and observed a military working dog demonstration.

“It was really fun to go in the simulator and on the flightline, because not a lot of people get that chance,” said a STARBASE student. “It’s really cool to see people in uniform working here every day.”

To understand the importance of teamwork in the military, students visited pilots, weapons systems officers for flight, and different units on base that prepare the Strike Eagles. Other organizations such as the base fire station, Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape office, and the 4th Component Maintenance Squadron’s “Hush House” are also included in the curriculum.

Thompson-Dawes said the program is great for teaching children how to depend on each other, while learning the importance of doing a job they have a passion for. STARBASE isn’t just for fun, it’s a program to help lead children down the right path in the future.