Science and Technology News

Friday, April 29, 2011

Roosevelt Sailors Teach STEM Students

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Cory C. Asato, USS Theodore Roosevelt Public Affairs

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) Sailors hosted fifth-grade students from Campostella Elementary for a tour of the ship's Light Industrial Facility (LIFAC) in Newport News, Va., April 27.

Campostella is a Norfolk, Va., Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) school, and the tour provided the Sailors an opportunity to show the students how they use technology to do their jobs. The tour consisted of demonstrations related to Campostella's STEM program.

Twenty-four Sailors from TR's Aviation Intermediate Maintenance Department were on hand to explain the technical and scientific correlation of each piece of equipment they use and how they use it to sandblast water-tight doors, engrave signs, build wooden plaques and boxes, and rework motors for shipboard fire main and salt water pumps.

"School, at times, can be abstract," said Kristal Moses, Campostella fifth-grade teacher. "Having the children come in to experience the STEM fields applied first hand can put them into the frame of mind to grasp a concept they normally only see in a text book, equation or someone just talks about."

One of the nine "stations" on the tour featured welding. Each child donned protective gear that allowed them to safely see the bright arcs that weld two heavy-duty pieces of metal together.

"The welding portion of the tour definitely kept everyone engaged since we had to try on the equipment and actually use it to view the demonstration," said Moses. "Such an opportunity helps our students to use their five senses to experience processes which they are not normally familiar with."

The students also wore protective gear to view the Sailors welding up close, according to Lt. Richard Martinez, officer in charge of LIFAC.

"We ceased production for the day to ensure the safety of everyone visiting, since LIFAC is an industrial environment," said Martinez. "TR's Safety Department visited our facility to give insight on eliminating dangers that could occur during the visit. Everyone was issued PPE to use."

Martinez said the opportunity TR afforded Campostella to come to LIFAC benefited both the students and his Sailors.

"Our Sailors strived to show how the different STEM fields are applied to the machines they use and services they provide by LIFAC Sailors while accomplishing their jobs," said Martinez. "It was also a great opportunity to have my hardworking Sailors set a positive example and mentor these students to tie up the 'loose ends' of hands on learning."

The Sailors drove home the point that the water tight doors close extremely tight and are ultimately designed to keep a ship from sinking. Parent chaperones who visited the facility along with the children appreciated the effort TR invested in Campostella's students.

"Opportunities such as this help our children to realize other options for a career," said Delvon Mack, a parent chaperone with Campostella. "The Sailors were able to break down Navy terminology and relate it to changing oil, which the children could grasp."

In accordance with the school's wishes, LIFAC Sailors taught the students 10 technological words relating to the STEM fields to include hydraulic, calibration and water tight. Before leaving the facility, every visitor received a commemorative piece of wood shaped in the likeness of TR's flight deck that was stained and engraved with the school's name and the TR emblem.

Campostella Elementary is part of many community relations projects TR and its Sailors participate in on a regular basis in the Hampton Roads area to manifest the Navy's motto "A Global Force for Good."

Theodore Roosevelt is currently undergoing its scheduled mid-life Refueling Complex Overhaul (RCOH) at Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries. During the 39-month maintenance period, TR's fuel will be replenished and significant upgrades will be made to the ship's combat and communication systems to extend the ship's service life for 25 or more years. All Nimitz-class aircraft carriers go through RCOH near the mid-point of their 50-year life cycle.

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