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A hands-on, minds-on STEM education program

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STARBASE Wisconsin offered an aviation outreach education program to youth enrolled in the Boy Scouts of America’s (BSA) Three Harbors Council. STARBASE staff provided 2 programs to Cub Scouts and Scouts since the New Year.

On February 9th, Cub Scouts held a STEM Merit Badge Workshop at the Milwaukee School of Engineering. One-hundred fifty Cub Scouts (Wolfs, Bears, Webelos, and Order of Light) participated in STEM education stations. STEM professionals and college students demonstrated amateur-built robots and industrial 3-D printers. STARBASE Educators, Holly Reitz and Michelle Klos-Gonzalez, provided youth an opportunity to fly a Cessna aircraft on flight simulators and design a spaceship using Computer Aided Design software.

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On March 23rd, Scouts arrived at Milwaukee County’s Lawrence J. Timmerman Airport to earn their Aviation Merit Badges. Spring City Aviation provided a classroom on the second floor giving the Scouts a spectacular view of the entire airport. This workshop was a part of the Merit Badge STEM Tech Clinic. STARBASE Wisconsin staff, including Tiffany Newton, John Puttre, Holly, and Michelle, organized and taught the workshop as part of their community outreach. Twenty-one Scouts had an opportunity to conduct a pre-flight inspection on a Cessna 172 airplane, learn about aircraft systems and airport operations, and create a flight plan from Milwaukee to West Bend. They flow the route on flight simulators.

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DoD STARBASE Wisconsin Academy and the BSA Three Harbors Council are capitalizing on their five year partnership. STARBASE Staff provide ongoing support for the BSA’s Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Merit Badge Clinics to encourage STEM involvement in Aviation and Space Exploration. STEM is part of an initiative the Boy Scouts of America have taken to encourage the natural curiosity of youth members and their sense of wonder about these fields through existing programs. Youth regularly attend from Illinois and Wisconsin.

Larry Danner, BSA Polaris District Executive, values the partnership. He says, “You guys are the best! You volunteer your time to help young people to achieve their greater potential by exposing them to ideas and activities (that) they might not otherwise experience. We value and appreciate your time and partnership.”

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From archery to welding, Scouts can’t help but enjoy the wide range of STEM-related activities. STARBASE Wisconsin Academy staff supports the BSA in a variety of ways:

• Chart STEM Merit Badge requirements met by STARBASE curriculum.
• Staff are Merit Badge Counselors.
• Teach workshops for designing models with Computer Aided Design software, developing Robotics programs, and teach the science of flight using flight simulators.

To learn more about the DoD STARBASE Academy in Wisconsin, visit https://dma.wi.gov/DMA/starbase or contact John Puttre, Director-STARBASE Wisconsin, via email at or telephone at (414) 535-5786.

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