Sailing into STEM

Sailing into STEM is a hands-on educational program for middle school aged students, which incorporates many aspects of sailing into helping students undersatand math and science concepts. The program runs throughout the year, in partnership with local community organizations. Many of the students that participate in our outreach programs test very poorly in the standardized testing. The published results show that typically only 36% are testing at grade level in 5th grade science. Our hands-on program not only helps them in developing the necessary math, science and reading skills they need, but it also helps them understand the need for these skills. We are able to open the doors of opportunity in careers in science, engineering, and technology.

We incorporate three forms of testing to monitor student performance and program effectiveness. At the beginning of the program, students complete a learning skills and education preference self-assessment and take a knowledge test. Throughout the program, instructors evaluate the students’ performance and interaction. At the end of the program, students again complete the self-assessment and take the knowledge test. We compile this data to ensure that we are meeting the needs of the students.

Our programs use the framework of sailing to teach STEM skills. Students learn to physically measure using several tools, and then calculate area of triangles. They learn and apply Pythagorean’s Theorem to calculate the missing side of a right triangle. Students design and build an anemometer to measure wind speed and learn to convert feet per second to miles per hour. While learning about density and buoyancy, students explore Archimedes’ Principle and how our 13,000lb boat can float. After learning and applying formulas to calculate the volume of various objects including cubes, cylinders and spheres, they weigh and calculate the density of the objects. In the context of a cruising sailboat’s electrical and battery system, students explore batteries and voltage and then experiment with lemon batteries. Students study the history and future of harnessing wind power and design and build a wind turbine. To help understand the balance of life in the marine environment, we help students explore the life in Baltimore Harbor by bringing in specimens of various marine organism to study.

These are just a sampling of the lessons the students are able to participate in at no cost to them or the host organization. In order to continue offering these programs, we are looking for support from local businesses and organizations. We are in need of financial support as well as in kind donations of tools, materials and supplies for our program. Your support not only helps to improve the youth of the community, but also helps to develop potential quality employees.

If your business or organization can help by supplying monetary support, products, or even volunteers to help us teach, please don’t hesitate to contact us.