March 6, 2015 – Cadets from the Academy STEM Outreach Club volunteered at the Classic Academy in Colorado Springs on February 19 as part of a five-part endeavor to interest students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects beginning January 15.
Cadets helped students fold complicated origami shapes, and then spoke with them on ways origami relates to engineering.
“Elementary- and middle-school-aged children are still very impressionable,” said Cadet 2nd Class Kaitlyn L. Sanborn, STEM Outreach Club cadet in charge. “They are curious and they can be easily engaged and stimulated. On the flipside, learning foundational subjects isn’t always the most fun. Times tables, basic principles of science, etc., can sometimes be dry subjects for kids who like to touch, see and understand. If you can bring in a demonstration that connects what they’re learning to the real world, showing how their education is a building block to learning about these very cool disciplines of engineering and science, you can encourage them to continue to commit themselves to learning.”
Sanborn said students responded well to instruction from cadets.
“The kids loved it, and I know Linda Retting, the librarian at Classic Academy who organized the club, appreciated a few extra hands helping kids complete the projects,” she said. “Kids usually think it’s pretty cool when cadets show up in flight suits. It’s something new and exciting for them. It gave us a chance to talk with the students and ask them how they got interested in origami and whether they realized the connection to engineering. It’s an opportunity to engage them on an interpersonal level which I think both parties enjoy and benefit from.”