Middle school students “STEM” out on FLEACT, Yokosuka

 Story by MC3 Liam Kennedy

Fleet Activities Yokosuka held a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) conference for Yokosuka and Camp Zama middle school students, April 3.

STEM is an annual conference held around the base which educates middle school students on how the Navy and different industries utilize various components of new technologies in an interactive and hands-on environment.

The STEM program falls in with President Barack Obama’s “Educate to Innovate” campaign. Obama’s plan is to prepare students to tackle the challenges of the 21st century.

“The quality of math and science teachers is the most important single factor influencing whether students will succeed or fail,” said Obama. “Passionate educators with issue expertise can make all the difference.”

Some of the activities included learning about fuel systems, electricity, firefighting search and rescue practices, Navy diving and Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) equipment.

“We showed kids that a magnet puts off an invisible field and we are showing them that if you cut wire with that field it will create electricity.” Construction Electrician 1st Class Maurice Johnson, a Mobile Utility Support Equipment technician. “The goal is to give them more understanding of how electricity is made and so far the reactions have been very positive, especially once they got their light to work.”

Yokosuka middle school’s goal was to get the kids out of the classroom into an exciting hands-on learning environment where they can personally see the effects that different STEM programs have on the world.

“The whole idea is to get the kids enthusiastic about STEM related fields and hopefully this will open some doors that they maybe didn’t know existed,” said Ruth Russell, school liaison officer, Navy Region Japan and Fleet Activities Yokosuka. “If you’re not eager to learn about something you’re not going to take the time to learn about it. The courses they select in high school will directly impact what types of colleges they can be accepted into later.”

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