I recently had a chance to sit down with Jeff Garrett, Deputy Commander of Cadets of the Barrow-Jackson Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP), the official auxiliary of the United States Air Force. He had some very interesting information and opportunities to share about how CAP is able to support STEAM education in classrooms throughout our school system.
On July 1, 1946, Public Law 476 established Civil Air Patrol (CAP) as a patriotic and educational organization and an “instrumentality of the United States,” a unique status similar to that accorded the American Red Cross. After WWII, air search and ground rescue became CAP’s primary operational mission, along with the education and training of “air-minded” and patriotic youth through the CAP cadet program.
CAP has three primary missions:
1. Aerospace Education
2. Cadet Programs
3. Emergency Services
CAP’s mission towards Aerospace Education is primarily where their classroom support opportunities exist for teachers interested in becoming Aerospace Education Members (AEM).
With a one-time $35 membership fee and free life-time annual renewals, AEM teachers receive aerospace teaching and curriculum resources aligned to standards, preplanned thematic units, and access to the accompanying materials needed to integrate aerospace education into elementary, middle, or high school classrooms. As an AEM teacher, you are also welcome to a teacher orientation flight aboard a CAP Cessna aircraft.
AEM teachers gain access to a a wide range of resources when they join, ranging from basic paper airplane activities, to model rocketry, to robotics, to astronomy. The materials look to be very well written and engaging while being aligned to standards. Here’s a few samples that Jeff brought for me to peruse.
If you have any interest in joining the Civil Air Patrol as an Aerospace Education Member, it’s very simple and the benefits are very worth the $35 entry fee. The booklets and paper resources are just the beginning of what the membership opens up. According to Jeff, when you request the rocketry lessons, they actually send you rocket kits for your students to build. When you request the model airplane lessons, they send you model airplane kits. Along with the robotics lessons comes a robotic arm kit that students can build and experiment with. CAP also sends a basic telescope to teachers who ask for the astronomy materials.
All that and more is included in your one-time $35 membership fee. So, if you would like to add a little aerospace flair to any of your units or lessons from Kindergarten to High School, give the Civil Air Patrol a try.
Look them up on the internet at http://ae.capmembers.com/
If you have previous experiences with the Civil Air Patrol, or have any other related comments, please share them below!