Culpeper Times • October 11-17, 2018
➤ STEM, from Page 6 between Germanna Community College, CCPS and local businesses. Students received first hand training on robotic exercises, airplane building, solar kit builds experiments in states of matter, magnetic principles and electricity and where electricity comes from. Matt Ortman, Instructional Technology Resource Teacher, for A. G. Richardson said that many students didn’t even know that there was an airport in Culpeper County, and now they are showing an interest in aviation because of their experiences at STEM day. “It’s an amazing opportunity, not only because of what is here, but they don’t even realize that these things exist,” Ortman said. “To actually be able to play and have fun with it, is an amazing opportunity. “It ties into things we are doing and it ties into things we are trying to prepare them for.” Germanna Community College’s Center for Workforce Development helped coordinate the day, introducing the students to drone flying and local businesses like Nextera Energy and Micron. Micron’s presentation was a popular one because students participated in bunny suit races - learning how to put on all the protective gear the technology company uses. Micron, based in Manassas and in the midst of a $3 billion expansion, had a host of employees working with the students to spread their love of engineering and technology. “Micron is a tech company and we want to make sure kids today are learning about science and engineering so that we have future employees,” Semon said. “We want to make sure we have good representation here so all the kids know they can be engineers.” Another popular presentation was where electricity comes from and the job of a line worker, presented by Rappahannock Electric Cooperative and Southside Virginia Community College. SVCC offers a power line worker training school, said Pam Taylor a Fast Forward Career Coach at the community college. The 11-week training helps students receive credentials in commercial driver’s license, OSHA 10, CPR/First Aid, NCCER Power Line Worker Level 1 and VDOT Traffic Controller. She said almost all graduates leave the program and immediately are able to find employment, many starting at $18 an hour. A high school diploma or GED is required and in state tuition is $4,200. Visit southside.edu for more information. It was those opportunities to learn that appealed to the fifth graders, but getting a
Local News chance to sit inside the helicopters was the real highlight for Weaver and Smith. Both admitted they had never been to the airport before, but Weaver excitedly said he was going to have his mom bring him to the AirFest Saturday. “Today kind of sparked (my interest),” Smith said. “It just looks really fun to fly.” Bossio and Nixon were just as excited as the students, giddily sharing details about the art of flying. “I think it’s the most critical thing we can do for our children, is to make sure each of them to have that hands on learning,” Bossio said. “They love the hands on stuff. They’re hungry and eager for someone to let them try their own limits. That’s where the excitement really is.” Nixon said that once the kids climbed into the helicopter, he lets them ask questions before going into the details of what it takes to pilot the craft. That helps facilitate the learning. “I kind of let them lead me into what they want to know, because otherwise they go glassy eyed if you give it all to them at once,” Nixon said. That interaction between seasoned pilot and young student is what started Bossio down his career path. “If I was a kid, if someone hadn’t done that for me, where would I be at my age,” Bossio said. “I always love to share aviation with young people because we need them.” Randi Richards-Lutz, Director of Career and Technical Education, said the collaboration between the schools, Germanna and location businesses is what makes the STEM day so special for the students. “They are learning about all the different careers, who knows maybe after today one of them may choose an aviation career path,” she said. Marley Kidd, a fifth grader at Pearl Sample, said she was already interested in science and technology but working with the robots hands on and learning about coding was exciting. “I like coding and I like computers and things like that so I like learning about things like that,” she said. After CCPS visited Wednesday morning, a group of home school and private school students were coming through at 2:30 p.m. said Barbara Kirkwood-Taylor, Director, Business Development Services of Germanna Center for Workforce. “We’re very excited to open it up because we’ll be able to reach fifth graders of all ages, all schools in the entire area and it’s important to get them interested in STEM at this age,” Taylor said. Almost every fifth grader said they were looking forward to attending the AirFest Saturday, their interest piqued.
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Students from A.G. Richardson Elementary School and Pearl Sample Elementary School listen to Rappahannock Electric Cooperative line workers as they learn about where electricty comes from.
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