Under a beautiful, blue Colorado sky, McAuliffe Elementary School fifth-grader Stephanie Molina positioned the ceremonial scissors and snipped the red ribbon opening the pathway to unique encounters with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics education. Col. Michael Hough, 21st Space Wing vice commander, said it is good to finally have the project completed.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Hough said, “The application was made in 2010, but the vision for it started well before that… we hope this is the first of many, many years to come.”
Plans to bring STARBASE to Peterson were ready to go when sequestration hit, Hough said. He credited retired Gen. Gene Renuart and his wife Jill for their commitment and effort to bring the facility to fruition.
“It would not have happened without them pushing,” Hough said. “They paved the way. We are so happy it finally materialized.”
Fifth-graders from McAuliffe Elementary School who were the first group through the local STARBASE Academy agree with Hough.
“I think it’s awesome! I like that it’s a fun way to learn,” said Landin Langridge.
“It’s really awesome. I like that it teaches you chemistry,” said Nicole Rodriguez. “We’ve done measures and learned why some pennies’ weight is different than others.”
Jose Parra elaborated on his classmates’ excitement about the facility.
“I think it’s good because I get to learn a lot of stuff,” he said. “Today I learned about volume and that you can redesign something that didn’t work out. I think all children should do this.”
The STARBASE Academy focuses on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics education and operates on a set curriculum, said Yvaal Hampton, STARBASE Academy director. The classes combine teaching and hands-on experience to provide students with something that will stick with them after their time at STARBASE is over. The first day covers the engineering design process and students build an “eggbert” space shuttle. The program also covers math mysteries and students examine hair and DNA, Newton’s Laws of Motion, build models of molecules, cover chemistry and even Bernoulli’s Principle and a geocaching activity.
Source:: Air Force Space Command