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Aug 2012 Flight Preview Newsletter

Aug 2012 Flight Preview Newsletter

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Published by Carissa Nichols

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Published by: Carissa Nichols on Sep 10, 2012
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Inspiring Future Scientistsand Engineers
http://prs.afrl.kirtland.af.mil/LaLuz/ Like us on Facebook! AFRL La Luz Academy
Star Date: August 2012SPECIAL EDITION
In This Issue...
The Concept
Our world has become increas-ingly dependent on technologi-cal innovations and the scien-tists and engineers (S&Es) whocreate them. The AFRL La LuzAcademy takes the study of sci-ence, technology, engineering,and math (STEM) out of thetextbook and into an interac-tive, hands-on environment inan effort to motivate more stu-dents to become S&Es.
AFRL La Luz Academy
is anAir Force Research Laborato-ry (AFRL) education outreachprogram at Kirtland Air ForceBase (KAFB) in Albuquer-que, New Mexico, through aCooperative Agreement withNew Mexico Tech. Our goal isto increase student interest inpursuing STEM-related stud-ies and career paths. We target
fth through twelfth grade
students.The interactive hands-on ac-tivities we provide focus on ap-plications of the basic STEMconcepts behind the technolo-gies developed by the DirectedEnergy and Space VehiclesDirectorates of the AFRL.
The Flights
AFRL La Luz Academy is di-vided into Flights, designed forcertain grade levels, alignedwith New Mexico and Com-mon Core State Standards.The
Mars Missions Flight
is a classroom-based Marscolonization simulation for
fth graders. Students prepare
for and simulate going on amanned mission to Mars.The
 provides fth graders an op
-portunity to explore physics,chemistry, technology, en-gineering, mathematics op-erations and applications, and
STEM Careers, through ve
5-hour classes on KAFB.The
Technology and Engi-neering Challenges (TECH)Flight
, for middle schoolers,occurs in three 5-hour classesat KAFB in the fall or springsemester. Fall semester focuseson rocketry, while Spring se-mester uses problem solvingand the engineering designprocess to explore STEM con-
cepts related to specic engi
-neering disciplines.
Robot Systems Flight
 provides an opportunity formiddle school students to ex-plore the basics of systems en-gineering at their school, usingrobotics as a theme.The
STEM Challenge Flight
 provides an opportunity forteams of three or more highschool students to plan andcarry out a real-world STEMproject using a multi-phasesystems engineering approach.Qualifying teams are eligibleto compete in the annualSTEM Challenge Symposiumat KAFB.
Inspiring Future Scientists and Engineers
The Rocket Report1
Inspiring Future Scientistsand Engineers1
Mars Missions Flight2DoD STARBASE Flight2TECH Flight3Robot Systems Flight3STEM Challenge Flight3STEM Expeditions4STEM Bytes4
We’re Looking for Volunteers4Spotlight Successful STEM Students4
Masthead and ImportantTerms and Acronyms4
2012-13Flight Preview 
The Rocket Report
AFRL La Luz Academy 
“Creating the Possibilities” 
http://prs.afrl.kirtland.af.mil/LaLuz/ Like us on Facebook! AFRL La Luz Academy
The Concept
The Mars Missions Flight isAFRL La Luz Academy’s class-room-based Mars colonization
simulation for fth graders.
It’s based on the ChallengerCenter for Space Science Edu-cation’s acclaimed
 ,the Cosmic Village
and has been modied to in
-clude Air Force technologiesand terminologies to provide aunique hands-on learning op-portunity for students.
 What’s the MarsMissions Flight?
Students work in TEAMS intheir classroom throughout theschool year on various activi-ties, called Base Operations,that prepare them for their simu-lated manned mission to Mars.These activities are designedto be motivating and hands-on,while meeting many of the NewMexico and Common Core StateStandards in science, math, lan-guage arts, music, and art.Students work in TEAMS of 
ve to seven
students to com-plete Base Op-erations at theirschool. TheBase Opera-tions include:writing a
 that decribestheir journeyto Mars; designing a
mission patch
, studying
 Mars Facts;
anddesigning a
 Life Support System Model
based on those Facts.Each TEAM also
with two other TEAMSfrom different schools; cuts outtheir assigned 6-mil plastic
pieces; plans their nutritious,yet space- and weight-saving,astronaut
; and designs aTEAM
.The Flight culmi-nates in a Link-Up Day activ-ity in the spring,where TEAMScome togetherto simulate theMars Mission.Each TEAM pro-gresses througha series of hold-ing stations to ensure they havecompleted the necessary prepa-rations for Link-Up Day, receiv-ing points on a TEAM MissionLog. One of the holding stationsinvolves S&Es from the DoDwho review the student-designedlife support systen models.On Link-Up Day, students jointwo other TEAMS from dif-ferent schools to form a habitat
CREW, and construct inatable
plastic habitats measuring 12’ x12’ x 8’.Then, the grand finale:Each CREW links up theirhabitat to several other habitatsto form a colony. This is whereLink-Up Day gets its name.TEAM members and invitedguests then participate in an ex-ploration of the colony.
Teacher Trainingand Resources
We will be conducting teachertraining in October to helpteachers understand their role inthe Mars Missions Flight. Thereare two types of teacher train-ing: a full-day session for teach-ers who have not participated inthe Mars Missions Flight before,and a shorter version for return-ing teachers.There is a mandatory mid-yearmeeting for Mars MissionsFlight teachers in February, tohelp prepare teachers for Link-Up Day.Mars Missions Flight teach-ers also receive a Teacher’sResource Guide manual, andmonthly newsletters with valu-able Mars Missions Flight tipsand information.
Mars Missions Flight
Mars Microbial Asteroid Research Survey (MARS) Mission 2012-13
The Concept
DoD STARBASE is a premiereducational program sponsored
 by the Ofce of the Assistant
Secretary of Defense for Re-serve Affairs. AFRL La LuzAcademy implements this pro-
gram for fth grade elemen
-tary school students as the DoDSTARBASE Flight.Students come to the AFRL La
Luz Academy for ve non-consec
-utive days during the school year.The inquiry-based curriculumfocuses on topics which includePhysics, Chemistry, Technol-ogy, Engineering, MathematicsOperations and Applications,and STEM Careers.Air Force Core Values (
 Integ-rity First, Service Before Self,
Excellence in All We Do
)are embedded in the activitiesstudents complete.
 What’s the DoDSTARBASE Flight?
During the ve curriculum
days, students engage in manyhands-on, mind-on activities.Teamwork is stressed as the stu-dents work together to explore,explain, elaborate, and evaluateconcepts. They study Newton’sLaws and Bernoulli’s Principle,and explore nanotechnology,navigation, and mapping. Stu-dents investigate engineering us-ing computers to design spacestations.Math is embedded throughoutthe curriculum, using metricmeasurement, estimation, cal-culation geometry, and dataanalysis to solve questions.Scientists, engineers, and mili-tary volunteers from AFRL andKAFB apply abstract principlesto real world situations by as-sisting with the implementationof activities and giving interac-tive demonstrations on the useof STEM in different settingsand careers. For example, cryo-genics experts from the AFRLuse liquid nitrogen to freezevarious objects as students ex-plore states of matter and ther-mal dynamics.The DoD STARBASE Flightteaches STEM in ways thatteachers may not have thetime, resources, and ex-pertise to do in a regularclassroom. It’s experiential,exploratory learning, and it tiesdirectly to local educationalcontent standards and bench-marks.To extend the impact of DoDSTARBASE, we conduct DoDSTARBASE 2.0 programs atselect middle schools servingformer DoD STARBASE Flightstudents. This program incorpo-rates mentoring and STEM proj-ects to increase student interest,knowledge, school attachment,and career awareness.
pic byHoward Huttel
“I learned that teamwork reallymakes a difference.”
--2011-12 MM Flight student,Bellehaven Elementary School
“One good thing about Marsis we were using a lot of math.”
--2011-12 MM Flight student,La Luz Elementary School
“They make you want to be ascientist or engineer, and go tocollege and get a math or sciencescholarship.”
2011-12 DoD STARBASE Flight student,Mesa View Elementary School
http://prs.afrl.kirtland.af.mil/LaLuz/ Like us on Facebook! AFRL La Luz Academy
The Concept
The Technology and Engineer-ing Challenges (TECH) Flight,for middle school students, con-sist of three non-consecutivedays of instruction at AFRL LaLuz Academy, in either the fallor spring semesters.The curriculum also incorpo-rates teamwork and the AirForce Core Values (
 IntegrityFirst, Service Before Self,
  Excellence in All We Do
 Whats the TECHFlight?
The fall semester of the TECHFlight focuses on rocketry overthe course of three non-con-secutive days, during whichstudents engagein a variety of STEM-relatedhands-on ac-tivities. Theyuse teamwork and engineer-ing design skillsto build six-footrockets. Stu-dents also run acomputer simu-lation of the an-
ticipated ight
of the rocketusing RockSimsoftware to predictwhat the rocket would
do when own.Stu
-dents explore hands-onGlobal Position-ing Satellite (GPS)activities similar to whatthey will do on RocketLaunch Day.The spring semester of the TECH Flight focuseson problem solving andthe engineering designprocess over the courseof three non-consecutivedays. Students investigateSTEM concepts related
to specic engineering
disciplines. For example, stu-dents learn about circuitry andelectronic components beforesoldering their own light-emit-ting diode (LED) badge as theyexplore electrical engineeringconcepts.
The Concept
The Robot Systems Flight, formiddle school students, is aschool-based initiative in whichstudents explore the basics of systems engineering and robot-ics by learning to assemble andprogram small wheeled robotscalled Boe-Bots
to run throughobstacle courses.Teamwork and the Air Force CoreValues (
 Integrity First,Service Before Self,
Excellence in AllWe Do
) are incorpo-rated in this Flight.
 What’s the RobotSystems Flight?
At a teacher training session,teachers learn the basics of as-sembling and programming theBoe-Bots
and then return to theirclassrooms with materials to teachtheir students these concepts overthe course of the fall semester. Sci-entists and engineers from KAFBprovide assistance to the teachersand students as they work on therobots at their school sites duringthe school year.After building their robots, stu-dents use their new program-ming skills to make the robot dosome simple tasks and maneuverthrough a series of increasinglychallenging obstacle courses.Students will have an opportunityto share their work using an onlineenvironment where scientists andengineers may provide feedback.The Robot Systems Expo is heldin February at our facility onKirtland Air Force Base. At theExpo, student teams demon-strate how their Boe-Bot
canrun through the various obstaclecourses.
The Concept
The STEM Challenge Flight
pro-vides an opportunity for teams of three or four high school studentsto plan and carry out a real-worldSTEM project, using a multi-phase engineering design process,much as real-world scientists andengineers (S&Es) do.
 What’s the STEMChallenge Flight?
The three phases of the engineer-ing design process used are: Proj-ect Research and Development(R&D) and Pitch; Build, Test,Modify, and Retest; and Final Pre-sentation. Student teams completeassignments for the phases of theproject and submit their work us-ing an online environment.As part of this process, teamsformally address and documentproject details such as: goal, con-straints, requirements, concept,design, budget and materials,construction, testing, data col-lection, and results. Throughoutthe project, students can earnpoints for submitted assignments.S&Es from the Air Force Re-search Laboratory and elsewhereprovide technical supportand feedback to the studentteams as they completeproject assignments.Teams earning a set mini-mum number of points on theirassignments are invited to com-pete at the annual STEM Chal-lenge Symposium. All studentteams are invited to share theirproject results with peers andother invited guests at the Sym-posium, as they watch competingteams demonstrate how their de-vices will meet the set objectivesof the project.
TECH Flight
Technology and Engineering Challenges Flight
Robot Systems FlightSTEM Challenge Flight
“I feel like if I can build a robot, I couldsucceed in technology, science, and math.”
--2011-12 Robot Systems Flight student,Valencia Middle School
“I plan to pursue engineering now,because I experienced it here.”
--2011-12 STEM Challenge Flight student,Hot Springs High School
“I just feel smarter about STEM. I think
I can make a living in these elds.”
--2011-12 TECH Flight student,Van Buren Middle School
“It made me feel more condent about science,
technology, engineering, and math by teachingme how to do things and solve problems.”
--2011-12 TECH Flight student,San Felipe Middle School

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