The STEM Education Alliance completed a full summer of STEM academies. These academies are designed to allow middle school students to develop teamwork, problem solving skills and increased content knowledge in math, science and engineering. These summer activities are also intended to increase student career awareness in STEM related fields. The STEM Education Alliance has been providing management, content creation, and evaluation of STEM summer academies since 2005. The Alliance's first involvement in STEM academies was working in conjunction with the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren Division, serving the surrounding school systems. The Dahlgren Academy has been held continuously since 2005, and the Alliance’s reach has grown to include summer academies held at Quantico Middle/High School and in the Virginia Beach Public Schools. The academies are structured to include one week of specialized training for participating teachers, scientists and engineers, interns and junior mentors. This training is designed to increase the content knowledge of teachers, as well as provide examples of how to engage students in STEM subject matter through the use of hands-on, minds-on, inquiry based instruction. The materials purchased for the academies stay with the schools, so that the exciting lessons and challenges the students participate in during the summer can be implemented throughout the school year to increase the reach of the program to all students.
Quantico STEM Summer Academy
The Fifth Annual Quantico STEM Summer Academy was held at Quantico Middle/High School on the Quantico Marine Base from June 15-19, 2015. This was a huge success in engaging middle school students in STEM subject areas while simultaneously supporting the DoDEA curriculum standards. Fifty students teamed up with 21 teachers and 18 scientists and engineers to learn about the role that water plays in science and engineering. Student activities included the SeaPerch Challenge, in which students built their own Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) and used these underwater robots to complete multiple real-life based challenges. The students also participated in activities designed to explore the properties of water, such as designing efficient water filters. Through hands-on challenges, students explored physics, chemistry, biology, engineering, robotics, and mathematics in an engaging, high-energy environment.
Dahlgren STEM Summer Academy
The Seventh Annual Dahlgren STEM Summer Academy was held on June 22-26, 2015. This academy represents a collaborative effort between The National Defense Education Program (NDEP), the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD), the STEM Education Alliance and five local school divisions. The academy invited 96 middle school students from five nearby school divisions: King George, Fredericksburg, Stafford, Spotsylvania, and the Department of Defense School at Dahlgren. Each student team was partnered with a teacher and a scientist or engineer from the Naval Surface Warfare Center. Together these student teams competed in a civil engineering challenge, which challenged students to build the most cost effective tower. In addition, the student completed a water rocket challenge, life science activity, ten Navy-focused robotic missions and a logistics activity. Throughout these challenges teacher and scientist and engineering mentors integrated STEM career connections. Parent Day was held on June 24th, in which parents participated in a Career Awareness presentation and received materials on future STEM opportunities provided by each school division, STEM Education Alliance, and The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren Division.
MCASP& PRIDE STEM Summer Academy
The MCASP and PRIDE STEM Summer Academies were held at Landstown High School on July 13-16, 2015 and Brandon Middle School on July 27-30, 2015, respectively. These four-day, action-packed events were sponsored by the Department of Defense Education Activity and developed by the College of William and Mary’s STEM Education Alliance in conjunction with the MCASP (Military Connected Academic Support Program) team and Operation PRIDE teams. The MCASP academy hosted a total of 50 middle school students from both Landstown Middle School and Corporate Landing Middle School. The PRIDE academy hosted a total of 50 middle school students from both Larkspur Middle School and Brandon Middle School. These students teamed up with 50 Virginia Beach teachers, 5 scientists and engineers, 4 engineering student interns from VCU’s engineering program, and 12 junior mentors from Virginia Beach high schools. Student teams competed in the Tower Build Challenge, the Water Rocket Challenge, the M&M Statistics Challenge, and the Electronics Challenge. Through these hands-on activities, students explored physics, chemistry, biology, engineering, and mathematics in an engaging, high-energy environment. Students also had an opportunity to explore career opportunities in STEM-related fields. On July 15th and 28th, parents and school division representatives were invited to attend VIP Day. VIP Day gave guests the chance to tour the academy to view the exciting activities, ask questions to the students, and receive STEM-related materials about careers. Delegate Glenn Davis attended VIP Day as a special guest and delivered an inspirational speech to the academy participants.
For more information about The STEM Education Alliance visit their website, or follow them on Twitter at https://twitter.com/stemeducation.