The Navy Flight Demonstration Team, the Blue Angels inspire interest in math and engineering among kids. This past week in Virginia Beach, thousands of fifth graders saw them fly.
Navy Capt. Rich Meadows was a child who always had a photo of an aircraft carrier on his bedroom wall. Today he is executive officer at Oceana Naval Air Station, and has flown EA-6B Prowlers and F/A-18 Super Hornets.
“I’ve always enjoyed mathematics and engineering,” he said. “It’s something that’s been with me ever since I was small.”
The same idea of inspiring similar interests was behind the enormous field trip to the military installment. Every fifth grader in the division, approximately 5,000 students, had an opportunity for a hands on experience with science, technology, engineering, and math outside their classrooms.
“It was so cool!” fifth-grader Robert Flagg said, marveling at the plastic turtle he saw from a 3-D printer. He had never seen a 3-D printer, either.
Robert’s aspirations are to be a professional soccer player, but now he is also interested in science. STEM subjects can sometimes be difficult to sell to fifth graders, so generating the excitement and experience is important.
After viewing the exhibits, the students got to witness a flight demonstration of precision flying by the Blue Angels. They were enthralled with the airshow.