The United States Air Force Academy STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Outreach program offers a variety of K–12 educational opportunities that effectively engage, inspire, and attract the next generation of STEM talent. Academy cadets and faculty help administer these outreach programs in the Colorado Springs area. Each year, we connect with more than 30,000 students and educators through community events, tours, mentorship, camps and sponsorships.
STEM Bootcamp is a three-day professional development program for southern Colorado’s K–12 educators to help them boost STEM teaching skills. Hosted by the Academy each summer, the program provides sessions focused on project-based learning for elementary, middle and high school educators. The camp is highly sought after, low-cost and provides new content every year.
For more information, visit ccesse.org/Educators/STEMBootCamp.
Air Force FIRST Leadership Experience
The Air Force FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Leadership Experience is an annual event that is sponsored by Air Force Recruiting Services. Approximately 25 educators and mentors for FIRST robotics from around the country are selected to attend this three-day program, which consists of educational lectures, team building exercises and tours of the Academy and Air Force base.
For more information, visit firstinspires.org.
EleSTEMary promotes greater STEM awareness among elementary educators through monthly professional development seminars in the Pikes Peak region. Workshops include topics like:
- Engineering QUEST Natural Disasters
- Literacy in the STEM Classroom
- Nature Engineered It First: Biomimicry
For more information, visit elestemary.org.
Each year, in collaboration with the Challenger Learning Center of Colorado, the Academy hosts several Design Challenges for K–12 students.
SeaPerch Design Challenges
SeaPerch is an innovative, project-based engineering activity in which students build a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) from off-the-shelf parts. Working in teams, students learn about robotics, problem solving, and engineering through designing, building, and testing a SeaPerch ROV. After building their ROV, middle and high school students have the opportunity to compete against other local teams.
LEGO® Design Challenges
LEGO® Design Challenges consist of students working LEGO kits in an innovative, project-based engineering activity consisting of designing and building a machine according to a set of design criteria. Working in teams, students learn about robotics, problem solving, and engineering through designing, building, and testing their LEGO Simple Machines and WeDo creations.
FIRST Robotics Sponsorship
Through the Department of Defense Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (DoD STEM) grant, the Academy provides sponsorship for FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) robotics teams in the Colorado Springs area. The DoD STEM robotics grants also provide a means for Academy faculty and cadets to coach and mentor robotics teams.
Physics is Phun
The Physics is Phun show illustrates the mysterious side of forces at work in our world. The effects of extreme heat and cold on everyday objects are put to the test. Always a shocking experience, students see electricity at play and observe its tangled relationship with magnetism.
The Cadet STEM Club, with more than 450 members, annually donates thousands of hours annually to elementary, middle, and high school students in order to increase awareness and sponsor activities in science, technology, engineering and math. The club hosts a number of outreach events throughout the year including participating in robotics mentorship, school takeovers and facilitating presentations and demonstrations at local events and schools.
Chemistry Magic Show
The Chemistry Magic Show is facilitated by the Department of Chemistry; and consists of a series of chemical demonstrations (including smoke, fire and color changes) that are used in the classrooms at the Academy.
Audience with an Astronaut
Audience with an Astronaut is an annual event hosted by the Air Force Academy and the Space Foundation to celebrate World Space Week, an international celebration of science and technology. The event gives local students the opportunity to learn first-hand what is takes to become a space explorer. In addition to an informational and inspiring talk from an astronaut, students participate in chemistry and physics sessions facilitated by faculty and cadets.