Families came out for the Rocking Rockets event Sept. 10 with the Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics Outreach Program at the Hill Air Force Base Gerrity Memorial Library. Children had the chance to learn about the STEM Program, build their own foam rockets, and then launch their rockets to make observations.
Families gathered in the children’s area of the library where an instructor taught students about the STEM program and about rockets. He then demonstrated how the rockets would work and families got to work creating their own models. Once everyone was ready, they took the excitement outside. Children were able to launch their rockets to see how far they could fly and make numerous other observations.
“Hosting the Rocking Rockets event with the STEM Outreach Program gives the library a unique opportunity to provide positive learning experiences for our military and civilian community,” said 75th Force Support Squadron library tech, Bridget Endsley. “We hope this initiative will impact the children by creating a fun way to explore science and technology.”
The Department of Defense initiated STEM Outreach Programs because the number of scientists, engineers, and mathematicians is dwindling in our nation faster than we can produce them. “We as a nation need to help fill this void because these careers are so vital to our nation,” said STEM Outreach coordinator, Deborah Roach. “The Department of Defense is also presented with an additional problem that we can only hire national citizens, therefore we must take an active role in our students’ STEM education.”
“The Hill AFB STEM Outreach Program has been in existence since January 2010,” said Roach. “Our numbers to date are 119,875 students; 3,968 teachers; 979 schools; 3,766 volunteers… We do at least 18 major events in a year followed with many smaller events/activities.”
Roach has high praise for the STEM Program and how they are approaching the problem that the grant from the NDEP (National Defense Education Program) set out to fix. “Our goal is to promote community collaboration and provide support to the students in grades K-12 in order to increase interest, participation, and success in STEM and raise awareness and interest in STEM related career opportunities…We want the students to learn by actually doing and observing. To learn from their successes and from their failures. To learn that they can do anything they want once they set their mind to it. To see the practical applications of what they are learning and how it applies to their lives,” said Roach.
The program hopes to leave a large imprint on the Hill AFB community- especially for students grades K-12. “We hope to see children walk away with a feeling of accomplishment and pride in what they have achieved and learned. We hope to see children learn that STEM is fun and that they can’t wait for more. We want to help our Team Hill families with getting this message across to their children and have another way to bond as a family through STEM activities.”
This was the first STEM event in the library, but several more are planned for the future. For more information about these programs, please call 801-777-2533.