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STARBASE students blast off to bright future

1 Oct 2004 | Lance Cpl. Justin Eckersely

Four teachers from Wilmington, N.C., visited the Science and Technology Academics Reinforcing Basic Aviation and Space Exploration program aboard the Air Station Sept. 13-17, to learn teaching strategies from Beaufort’s educators.

The teachers came to Beaufort in preparation for the opening of a new STARBASE, which will be responsible for all of the eastern North Carolina coastal region, according to Amy W. Keith, program coordinator, STARBASE Program Wilmington.

“We want to make the best program possible,” Keith said. “And Beaufort’s STARBASE teachers have a great reputation.”

One of the biggest factor that makes the Air Station’s STARBASE stand out is that it runs a one-week, five-day program, which is much easier to observe than a five-week program that runs once a week, according to Keith.

Over the course of the five days, students learn about physics, aerodynamics, and air pressure, culminating in each student’s construction and launch of a model rocket, according to Wendell Roberson Jr., director, STARBASE Program MCAS.

“The concepts they learn now as fourth graders, others learn in high school, sometimes college,” Roberson said. “Hopefully this will enhance their appreciation for math and science.”

The purpose of STARBASE is to increase knowledge in science and math because the United States lags behind other nations, according to Roberson.

“We give them a pre-test and a post test,” Roberson said. “In a typical school class, it’s normal to see a positive five-point increase on a similar test. On our tests, we’ve seen movements of 25 points, and we’ve never had a movement of less than 15.”

Because the students enjoy their time at STARBASE, they are more open to learning about the subjects being taught, according to Roberson. The opportunity to not only build and launch a model rocket, but also take it home is an experience most of the children enjoy.

“I had fun making my rocket,” said Rakiah D. Cohen, fourth grade student, Saint Helena Elementary School. “I’m going to build one on my own.”