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AIAA Kids Club
Despite the vast research in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), little effort is being focused on an artistic angle to approach kids with a vehicle to draw their attention to aviation and aerospace sciences. Children are creative by nature. Children are born scientists and by catching them early, we can focus their energy to harvest their instinctive nature to create.
The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Tucson Section established Kids Club in 2004; since then, the section has built a challenging, yet fun program for 4th-6th graders. Each month during the school year, the Tucson Section partners with local engineers, scientists and other experts to offer hands-on seminars, covering a variety of STEM plus Art topics, creating STEAM. The Arizona/NASA Space Grant has been a tremendous partner in providing space for the sessions at the University of Arizona, as well as session materials. During the past year, Kids Club has offered sessions including aviation, optics, planetary science, rocketry, and systems engineering. Finding local partners in academia and industry for each event helps keep the activities fresh and interesting to students, and simplifies the execution and planning for the section.
In addition to local STEAM partners participating, Kids Club is a great outlet for showcasing aerospace related subjects section members are passionate about. One popular annual event is the Engineering/Art session mimicking a real-life experience in conjunction with a competitive art project to develop, design, execute a unique rendition of the 4 forces of flight, and orate their final design in order to win. Tucson Section member Michelle Rouch uses art as tool to simulate mini-engineering acquisition program. Another session that captivates the student’s attention year after year is rocket building. AIAA Kids Club gives these kids the tools that they thirst for in learning. The Kids Club concept can be applied to any section. A good starting point would be to build a partnership with local clubs, who have similar objectives in creating a strong technical community. By working together, the goal of bringing STEAM to students can be achieved faster than by working alone.