CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - Students throughout Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune’s Department of Defense Education Activity Schools were able to explore the world of science, technology, education, art and mathematics through STEAM week, recently.
“We emphasize integrating STEAM into all of our subjects,” said John Stroup, the assistant principal of Heroes Elementary School aboard the base.
While many places focus on science, technology, engineering and math, local DODEA schools have added art to the equation.
“We know that the arts helps change people’s perspectives and solve problems,” said Stroup. “People who design things and solve problems have to look at things differently and that’s what art and music does.
The schools found many ways to teach students about STEAM. Some schools brought in the military community to help. For instance, an Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit visited Tarawa Terrace Elementary School with robots.
“We talked about the engineering aspects and the technology needed to create robots,” said Carol Dula, an information specialist with the school. “We talked about their roles and the ways they save lives. It was a great demonstration for the kids to see. [Some of] their parents are out in areas where it’s dangerous, so seeing robots that could save their parents lives is something they could really connect with.”
The Marines of EOD demonstrated the robots movements and showed the capabilities of the machines.
“The robots were fairly big,” said Dula. “To see something like that in person was eye-popping to [the children].”
Tarawa Terrace Elementary School also had a family night which included many activities, such as creating a gumdrop dome and robotics 1-2-3 tie your shoe, where students had to try to tie their shoes with some obstacles, for instance some had to try while using pliers.
“It shows them how difficult it can be to do something like that with a robot,” said Dula.
The schools also had engineering design challenges, where students created things based on their age level.
Some classes had balloon car races and opportunities to create bridges. Students also visited local building sites where they spoke to engineers and discussed construction and STEAM applications to real-life projects.
An MV-22 Osprey from Marine Corps Air Station New River visited Heroes Elementary School. Students were able to witness its landing and take a tour through the craft.
Lejeune High School had Joe Bozeman, an environmental engineer and green environmental management systems coordinator with the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center, visit the school to speak to students about opportunities existing for STEAM internships and employment with the federal government.
“Bozeman shared his own journey, answered student questions, and engaged them in an activity to consider the current and future state of renewable and non-renewable energy sources,” said Denise Hudson, the science instructional systems specialist for grades 4-12 for North Carolina DoDEA schools.
Stroup believes exposing students to professionals of all backgrounds will really cement the idea that their students can go anywhere no matter the circumstance.
“It’s important to have role models,” said Stroup. “Perception is really important and seeing professionals gives kids the confidence to know that they can do it.”
The schools made sure to emphasize collaboration and communication between STEAM fields and how they apply to the real world to the students.
“STEAM is a word that we’re using to understand that we need to make sure that science, technology, engineering, arts and math is a process that’s involved in every aspect of learning,” said Dula. “Not just in a science lab.”