NAVAL AIR STATION OCEANA — More than 6,000 students, many from Virginia Beach public schools, attended a special STEM event at the Naval Air Station Oceana on Friday, Sept. 9. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math, and displays and activities focused upon careers in those fields and learning.
One that was a hit with students was the demonstration of 3-D printing capabilities that are shared by the city schools, with Dr. Patrick Konopnicki, the director of the technical and career education office, helping explain.
“It was really cool,” said Allison Ragudo, 10, a student at St. John the Apostle Catholic School. “It can make things in 3-D and do it by itself.” She was excited to cover scientific classes at her school. “We’re going to do the sun, the earth and the moon.”
St. John the Apostle has a STEM initiative, and Carey Averill, a middle school math teacher and one of the STEM coordinators, said students loved the chance to learn and see an air show.
Student learning was not restricted only to the air show, where the Blue Angels and a number of aerial demonstrations soared. Children also had their own chances to fly.
“The school system provided a real neat air show unit,” said Sarah Sykes, who teaches fifth grade at Landstown Elementary School. “We learned about how airplanes fly.”
Students designed paper airplanes, considering variables, redesigning, and testing — all to make their work go as far as it can go.