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STARBASE Goodfellow reaches San Angelo and beyond

Students attending STARBASE Goodfellow watch as their water-bottle rockets fall after being launched at Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, Sept. 12, 2018. The children learned about Newton’s Laws and used the rockets as a hands-on demonstration of the concepts. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Zachary Chapman/Released)

Students attending STARBASE Goodfellow watch as their water-bottle rockets fall after being launched at Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, Sept. 12, 2018. The children learned about Newton’s Laws and used the rockets as a hands-on demonstration of the concepts. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Zachary Chapman/Released)

Fifth graders learn about chemical reactions and gasses by observing changes in a balloon during their time at STARBASE at Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, Sept. 7, 2018. While attending STARBASE, the students learned about, science, technology, engineering and mathematic principles and applied them through experiments. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Zachary Chapman/Released)

Fifth graders learn about chemical reactions and gasses by observing changes in a balloon during their time at STARBASE at Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, Sept. 7, 2018. While attending STARBASE, the students learned about, science, technology, engineering and mathematic principles and applied them through experiments. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Zachary Chapman/Released)

Children gather material to build a lasagna bridge, to learn about buoyancy, while attending STARBASE at Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, Sept 7, 2018. The students learned about buoyancy by creating a bridge with only marshmallows, popsicle sticks and lasagna, this gave a hands-on demonstration about weight distribution. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Zachary Chapman/Released)

Children gather material to build a lasagna bridge, to learn about buoyancy, while attending STARBASE at Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, Sept 7, 2018. The students learned about buoyancy by creating a bridge with only marshmallows, popsicle sticks and lasagna, this gave a hands-on demonstration about weight distribution. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Zachary Chapman/Released)

Students arrive at STARBASE Goodfellow during their 25 hour course at Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, Sept. 7, 2018. The STARBASE program introduces 5th graders to science, technology, engineering and mathematics with a more hands on approach than they may receive in their schools. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Zachary Chapman/Released)

Students arrive at STARBASE Goodfellow during their 25 hour course at Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, Sept. 7, 2018. The STARBASE program introduces 5th graders to science, technology, engineering and mathematics with a more hands on approach than they may receive in their schools. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Zachary Chapman/Released)

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- STARBASE Goodfellow has reached nearly 1,400 fifth grade students, both within San Angelo and beyond, delivering a more hands-on introduction to science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

“Last year we reached 17 elementary schools in the San Angelo school district and six private schools,” said STARBASE Goodfellow Director, Katheryn Ganster. “Up to this point we have had 1,343 students who have completed the 5-day program, meaning that they have had 25 hours worth of curriculum. This year we are hoping to get over 1,500 students.”

To achieve these benchmarks, STARBASE has employed permanent teachers to offer day-to-day hands-on lessons. These lessons can consist of launching water-bottle rockets, building bridges and learning about robotics.

“STARBASE is informal education on top of what they are learning in the regular schools,” said Program Instructor, Timothy Maddox. “We teach them about STEM-related curriculum, anything to do with science, technology, engineering and math. We give them a lot of hands-on experience and exposure to things that they probably wouldn’t get at their regular schools.”

Along with the lessons the teachers provide, STARBASE also hosts STEM-career guides who provide a more focused and personal account of their respective STEM-based careers.

“We have a little segment of our time where we reach out for what we call STEM-career guides,” said Ganster. “What this does is allow people here at Goodfellow, and also the community, to come in and spend 30 minutes to an hour out of their day talking to these kids about their career. It allows us to expose the kids to STEM careers here on Goodfellow and the community.”

With all of the classes that take place at STARBASE, they are always looking for new voices and perspectives to come in and share their expertise with the students.

“We want to reach out to our people here at Goodfellow and the community and say please give us a call, come in and talk to our students and show them to what you do,” said Ganster.

The opportunity to let the children see what Goodfellow does, and what it can offer them, even as a civilian, is just one benefit of having STARBASE on site.

“Us bringing fifth graders to the base lets us open up a humongous window to what is Goodfellow Air Force Base,” said Ganster. “STARBASE brings Goodfellow to the minds of 1,500 students who go home and talk about the base and the impact that this program had on them, and it carries forth to the parents.”

Looking toward the future, the goal of STARBASE is to introduce STEM to more kids and keep them interested in learning and investing in their future.

“We have a pre- and a post-test where we gauge what they knew when they get here versus when they leave,” said Maddox. “Typically there is almost always improvement and the students are very interested in learning. STARBASE does leave a lasting impact.”

For more information about STARBASE, visit their website at www.starbasegoodfellow.org, email them at starbaseoffice@samfa.org or call 325-654-4740.