News: Back to school: Marines teach navigation fundamentals to middle schoolers
Story by Pfc. Sullivan Laramie
CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - Marines with Combat Logistics Regiment 27, 2nd Marine Logistics Group traveled to Brewster Middle School, here, to teach seventh-grade students about land navigation, April 25.
“The same thing I’m teaching you here is the same thing I teach corporals at their formal school,” said Sgt. Joshua A. Oakes, a tactics readiness and training instructor with CLR-27, as he spoke to the students. “I took out some things so you won’t be as bored, but you’re not going to get anything watered down. You’re going to get the real deal.”
The school set up a science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics, or STEAM, week. STEAM came from the desire to add art to the science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, education program. STEM began as a result of a decline in science and math education in U.S. schools.
The Marines went to Brewster to teach the seventh grade how to use compasses, protractors and maps together to reach a destination when technology fails.
As people become more dependent on technology, something as simple as a dead battery can leave someone stranded in the woods.
“We’re relying very heavily on a GPS,” said Oakes. “We’re relying on cell phones and things of that nature, which have become integrated into our daily lives to make our lives easier. If they don’t work, we become lost and don’t know what to do.”
The Marines readily engaged the students in discussions about the information and used personal experiences to draw the students into the class. The seventh-graders learned how compasses work, what the colors and symbols on maps mean and how to mark specific points on maps.
“I just made sure I was giving them simple words because I would rather have everyone on the same page than excelling a few and leaving a few behind,” said Oakes. “It allowed me to bring more fun into the classroom. [The students] seemed very receptive and I’m glad to actually see the good effect it had on them.”
The intent was about more than just maps, Oakes said. Life might not always be easier if people do things themselves, but less time and money would be spent waiting for something to be fixed if there were more do-it-yourselfers.
“We really appreciate the fact that [Marines] are willing to take the time to come in and speak to [the students],” said Athy M. Lionikis, a seventh grade world geography teacher at the school. “I think these are things that go to show we are truly a community. The kids feel good that the Marines care enough to come and spend time with them.”