News from the STEM Office  


USNA at Perot Museum of Nature and Science

Posted on: April 01, 2014 08:00 EDT by Sarah Durkin

Dallas high school students stepped into the role of scientists and engineers at a STEM Day hosted by the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas, TX, in partnership with the United States Naval Academy (USNA).

One-hundred high school students in the Junior ROTC program, from 13 Dallas area schools, participated in a full day of STEM activities led by six USNA midshipmen and faculty members, Angela Moran and Patrick Caton, along with Perot Museum educators.

Students learned about aerodynamics, helicoptors, wind energy, and engineering, using hands-on activities. Students competed individually to build hoop gliders that soar though the air, made only of straw and paper. They learned the fundamentals of airplane design using model airplanes. Students engineered and modified simple paper "whirligigs" that mimic helicopters, learning about lift and air resistance. They learned how to put rotors to work by building wind turbines. 

Students learned first-hand the science of flight and the process of engineering, and greatly enjoyed the challenge. Patrick Caton, USNA professor in Mechanical Engineering, taught the aerodynamics activities, and said, "The JROTC students from the Dallas school districts were a great group, and many seemed highly motivated. I think our team of midshipmen and faculty were able to engage them really well with short engineering experiences and get some of them thinking more about science and engineering in college."

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