Cadets from Carolinas Flock to STEM Workshop
STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) principles came alive for 121 cadets from the North and South Carolina wings through hands-on learning exercises during a workshop at the Aviation Institute of Maintenance in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Twenty-two adults members volunteered to teach and support the activity throughout the day. The STEM workshop involved three workshops – Electronics, Materials, and Propulsion, each offered once in the morning and once in the afternoon.
The Electronics session focused on basic electronics, soldering, and avionics systems. First, cadets manipulated and reconfigured wires that they attached to a switch. After that, they were able to practice their soldering
"I am having a lot of fun. I have done everything now,” said Cadet Zachary Lee of the North Carolina Wing's Union County Composite Squadron. “In Electricity, I got to solder.”
After Lee and his fellow cadets were comfortable making beads of solder, they transitioned to a circuit board soldering kit, then put the board together and soldered the pieces into place.
After cadets were finished with their kits, they were able to enjoy the fun with a static electricity ball.
The Propulsion session focused on teaching cadets about reciprocating engines, turbine engines, and safety.
After instruction on engines, cadets headed outside in groups to go through the process of starting up an engine so that they could feel its power.
They were able to view different types of partially disassembled engines, giving them an interior view of how the engines worked. After that they were given a 3-D-printed turbine engine to assemble.
"I love doing this kind of stuff,” said Cadet Senior Airman Noah Williams of the North Carolina Wing's Harnett County Composite Flight.
The Materials sessions taught cadets basics about nonmetallic and composite aircraft structures, sheet metal, and riveting. They were introduced to aircraft fabric types, inspection, and maintenance practices.
After being given balsa wood gliders, they had to trace the glider shape onto fiberglass cloth, cut out the fiberglass, and fasten the fiberglass onto the glider with epoxy.
Afterward, they worked with sheet metal to create a pen holder by bending the aluminum sheet metal, drilling holes, and riveting the pieces together.
In addition to gaining hands-on experience and learning new skills, participation enabled the cadets to earn four hours of credit towards their Civil Air Patrol STEM Badge.
Capt. Rachael Gliniak
Public Affairs Officer
Pitt-Greenville Composite Squadron
North Carolina Wing