Science and Technology News

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Children learn about science, technology, engineering, math at Peterson festival

by Tech. Sgt. Jared Marquis
21st Space Wing Public Affairs

8/27/2014 - PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colorado -- Science, Technology, Engineering and Math projects brought hundreds of kids to Peterson Air and Space Museum for STEM Rocks! Aug. 23.

Nearly 30 booths offered a wide variety of hands-on STEM activities, such as piloting a robot and launching homemade rockets.

Army Staff Sgt. J.D. Seamons brought his children Hailey and Caleb to the event.

Seamons said his children enjoyed the event, particularly panning for gold. He said his children are all very interested in physical sciences and this event gave them an opportunity to nurture that interest.

"They need to understand the physics of the world. It also shows them the various career opportunities," Seamons said.

Other events included demonstrations by the 21st Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal robot, rocket launches by the Civil Air Patrol, Angry Nerds Catapult and a rocket thruster demonstration by the U.S. Air Force Academy STEM Outreach Club.

"The mission of the USAFA STEM Outreach Club is to inspire and excite students, parents and educators about STEM fields," said Cadet 1st Class Winston Sanks.

Capt. Jason Christopher, USAFA STEM Outreach Club office in charge, said events like this are very important for the Colorado Springs community.

"Students have different career options, and it's important for us to help excite them about the possibilities of STEM," he said. "We don't want them getting discouraged about the career field early on, there are a lot of interesting things you can do with STEM."

In addition to the rocket thruster, the USAFA STEM Outreach Club brought a smaller version of the EOD robot, called PACBOT 4, for children to control. Sanks said they attempted to ambush and challenge the 21st CES robot, which was in the next booth, but were unsuccessful.

They were covert, he said. But the bigger robot just grabbed them and stopped the attack.

Though all of the events had a tie to STEM, several also focused on enjoying those subjects safely.

"We are trying to heighten public awareness of safety around power lines," said Karl Shafer, a retired power lineman from Colorado Springs Utilities. "It's important that people understand that whether young person or adult, we are all made of the same stuff and that makes us all conductors around electricity."

This is the third year Peterson has hosted STEM Rocks! with the goal to encourage kids to find the fun in STEM and consider pursuing careers in the field. As the world relies more and more on STEM for everyday conveniences, it is important to continue encouraging each generation to pursue careers in the STEM fields.

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