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Posted 6/6/2014

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By Nancy J. Sticht

Second phase of STEM initiative takes students to project sites

Antilles Elementary School students at Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico had the unique opportunity to make an up-close-and-personal visit to local U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project sites, in a follow up activity to a recent classroom presentation by members of the Antilles team (please see page 3 of the May issue of JaxStrong for more on the classroom presentation). The April 22 field trip was the second phase of a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) initiative, co-sponsored by Jacksonville District and the Department of Defense Education Activity, to encourage students to pursue education and eventual careers in those fields.

The first grade students visited the site of their new elementary school, where construction is currently under way. The school will incorporate 21st century school design, including alternative energy systems. A wind turbine and solar electric system will both conserve natural resources and serve as an educational tool.

“Harnessing nature’s power, by using energy provided by the sun and the wind, is an important component to sustainable design,” said Capt. J.C. Cordon, deputy commander for the Antilles, who led the field trip to the school site and to see the wind turbines installed by the Army Corps of Engineers and the solar panels installed by Fort Buchanan’s Environmental Division. “The opportunity to see these projects first-hand was a great learning experience for the students, and they were interested and engaged.”

The students will apply what they have learned in the final phase of the STEM initiative, when they design a playground that incorporates “green” technology.

Antilles Elementary School Jacksonville District STEM sustainability U.S. Army Corps of Engineers USACE