STARBASE staff provide STEM instruction to VNG Youth Camp, ChalleNGe cadets

Staff from the Winchester-based STARBASE Academy provide hands-on instruction to more than 60 sons and daughters of Virginia National Guard Airmen and Soldiers at the Virginia National Guard's 14th Annual Youth Camp July 27 - Aug. 2, 2019, at the State Military Reservation in Virginia Beach. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Lisa M. Sadler)
Staff from the Winchester-based STARBASE Academy provide hands-on instruction to more than 60 sons and daughters of Virginia National Guard Airmen and Soldiers at the Virginia National Guard’s 14th Annual Youth Camp July 27 – Aug. 2, 2019, at the State Military Reservation in Virginia Beach. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Lisa M. Sadler)

VIRGINIA BEACH, Virginia — Staff from the Winchester-based STARBASE Academy traveled to Virginia Beach to provide hands-on instruction to more than 60 sons and daughters of Virginia National Guard Airmen and Soldiers at the Virginia National Guard’s 14th Annual Youth Camp July 27 – Aug. 2, 2019, at the State Military Reservation in Virginia Beach.

The Youth Camp provides educational, emotional, social, and community support for the youth and families of the Virginia National Guard. The campers participated in interactive educational sessions and constructive group activities throughout the week, including two days of STARBASE activities that focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

“We had the students work in groups to program the LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 robots,” said Sabrina Ramey, STARBASE instructor. “Their first task was to push one rock out of the blue circle and then the second task was to push out two rocks with the robot moving continuously to complete the tasks.”

Once the campers completed their two tasks, Ramey gave them a challenge of pushing out all of the rocks beyond the blue circle. The campers had guidelines to follow and many of them were able to complete the challenge.

“It was great to see the campers work together, communicate, and having fun while programming,” she said. “The junior counselors even joined the fun with the campers.”

While they were at SMR, the STARBASE staff also visited the Virginia Commonwealth ChalleNGe Youth Academy, where they also exposed the cadets to STEM activities.

STARBASE is a Department of Defense educational program, sponsored by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs, where students participate in 25 hours of “hands-on, mind-on” activities in science, technology, engineering and math over five days.

Students are exposed to the technological environments and positive civilian and military role models and are immersed in a unique classroom experience for five days where all activities are student-centered, hands-on, encourage higher order thinking and incorporate STEM applications in the real world, explained Dr. Susan Corrigan, the Winchester STARBASE Academy director. The program supports 15 area schools from four public school districts, and nearly 1,300 students in 58 classes participated in the 5-day program in 2018, with 77 percent of the students coming from Title I schools.