Science improves people’s lives as well as our planet. It is exciting, useful, and it leads to new questions that open our imaginations to what we can achieve. Students at STARBASE Alpena stand on the shoulders of giants such as Isaac Newton and Daniel Bernoulli. Students explore force and motion by launching straw rockets or simulating crash-test barriers. They explore fluid mechanics by observing a small-scale wind tunnel or by interacting with computer simulations.
The fact that you are reading these words right now shows you are familiar with technology. But how did we get here, and more importantly what can we do with technology today in a 5th or 6th grade classroom? Students at STARBASE learn to use CREO, a cutting-edge program for CAD (Computer Aided Design) where they can create and manipulate an object in three-dimensional space. Students also use technology to program LEGO EV3 robots to complete missions. From these very big ideas to the very small ideas students learn about in nanotechnology, students gain an appreciation of how technology comes in all shapes and sizes.
What does an engineer do? It might be easier to ask what engineers don’t do. Fields can range from aerospace to biomedical to chemical. There are electrical, computer science, and mechanical engineers. This field is full of possibilities. The simple answer to what engineers do is this: engineers create and design. Our students use the Engineering Design Process to create many things as they go through STARBASE. They may create a bridge to save the town of Water’s Edge; or a restraint system for Eggbert, the pilot in our 3D printed space shuttle.
In order to understand the world around us, it is important to understand math. This is the key to understanding the physical properties of different objects, how forces are applied, and how shapes fit together. Gaining knowledge in these areas, students at STARBASE can use math to graphically look at results of their tests and use this data to solve problems. Upon graduation, students have a better appreciation of why we learn math as well as what it can show us.