New Program Helps Duluth 5th Graders Learn About STEM

Amy Adamle
December 07, 2017 06:44 PM

A unique program is helping 5th graders in Duluth learn more about STEM, science, technology, engineering, and math.  

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The program is called the Starbase program and it's held at 148th Fighter Wing.

Teaching kids about STEM can be a difficult task, but with the right tools, teachers can invoke curiosity in the minds of young learners.

"We really focus on cutting edge technology,  so we're looking at ways to incorporate an old concept, for example Newton's Law of Motion, but finding a way to put a technological spin on it," Starbase Director, Charity Rupp, said.  

Starbase is how this is possible and it's an opportunity for students to learn hands-on. 

"The kids are using a computer program to program rovers, so they're using code and speaking to their rovers using math," Megan Allen, a Starbase instructor, said.  "They're measuring distance and angles and trying to navigate to different locations."

"These kids are getting to use equipment, scientific equipment, that they otherwise would not be able to use like CAD cams and 3D printers and vacuum chambers and all kinds of things we would never have in our public schools," Tami Meyer, a 5th grade teacher at Laura MacArthur Elementary, said.  

For teachers like Meyer, they've seen this program do wonders.  

"I've seen some of my kids that would never speak in class, they're just blossoming in this program," Meyer said.  

The program is taught at the 148th Figher Wing, and it's directly related to their future.

"There's a lot of companies that are looking for engineers and people that are smart on aviation and it's kind of a lost art and they're having difficulty getting folks up here to do those jobs," Colonel Chris Blomquist, the Commander of the 148th Fighter Wing, said.  "It's great to have our own local kids up here learning about technology, aviation, math."

Right now the program is only available in the Duluth Public School District, but they hope in the future they can expand it to surrounding areas too. 


Amy Adamle

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