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STEM Remote Learning

With squadrons and schools shut down, here are many ways you can engage your squadron members and students with STEM learning!

If you are in Massachusetts and are NOT a member of CAP (either a squadron or an Aerospace Education Member) and you want to get more of these activities, please email me!

You definitely want to check out this web page that gives great tips for how to teach students of all grade ranges: . Much thanks to 1st Lt Peter Steinerman (VTWG/DAE) for this URL!

1. Check out CAP's Northeast Region AE page. Scroll down to the bottom, and on the right-hand side you'll see links for AE Online Resources (organized into categories: CAP-specific, Careers, Flight, It is Everywhere, Science and Tech, Robot Overlords, and Virtual Field Trips). Note that some of the ideas below are also duplicated on the NER website.

2. CAP's National HQ also has some great web pages with activities for home education: and .

3. From NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, here are two websites with fantastic hands-on activities. These two websites are for teachers; there are corresponding websites to help students/cadets with the hands-on activities. Check out and .

4. Here's a fun video of a guy who attached a leaf blower to a home-built radio-controlled plane and made it fly! Some good engineering-design principles described in the video.

5. Capt Josh Bell, Wing Historian, sent the following free courses he'd found online. Expand your mind while you're cooped up inside!

6. I realize I had neglected to share the link for NASA's winter eClips newsletter, here it is!

7. Thank you to Goddard squadron, and in particular C/Capt Grayson Logan and C/Maj Aaron Pigeon for creating a "virtual tour" of the Steven Udvar-Hazy National Air & Space Museum. Besides the tour, there's a set of questions. You can distribute this to your squadron/classroom; if you'd like the answer key, please contact Lt Col LouAnn Maffei-Iwuc from Goddard Squadron ( Please, only one person from any given squadron/classroom contact Lt Col Maffei. See "AE Virtual Special Activity March 2020 Packet.pdf" and "Questions - AE Virtual Special Activity March 2020.pdf" below for the files for this activity.

8. Goddard Squadron was busy, C/TSgt Dimitri McPherson and C/SSgt Maya Belliveau created a mini-class on Astronomy and Cosmology (see "Intro to Cosmology and Astronomy.pptx" below). There's a link to an online quiz at the end you can take.

9. Maj Daniel deLesdernier, AEO at the Brig Gen Arthur Pierce squadron, sent me the following:

I've come across several things lately that I wanted to pass on since they relate not only to the Coronavirus, but to mathematical modelling, which is a cornerstone of science and engineering.

This Washington Post article demonstrates in a very friendly manner how disease can spread and the what the effects of social distancing are. Look at this even if you don't think you're good at math! There are great pictures. As opposed to a traditional mathematical model, this is an example of a numerical simulation. We use numerical simulation extensively in engineering and science, building in the computer a "model" of the real system, making some simplifying assumptions, and letting it run.

For the somewhat more mathematically-inclined, here's a YouTube video get that gets a little deeper into how a mathematical equation-type model works and how scientists and epidemiologists might use the model to make predictions about when the outbreak might peak. They talk about "differential equations" but watch it anyway even if you don't know what a differential equation is. By the way, I highly recommend any of the Numberphile videos.

You may have heard a lot about "exponential growth" and how Coronavirus cases are growing exponentially.

Wikipedia has a nice article on exponential growth: But if we use this model to predict what will happen to the number of C-19 cases over the next month or so we'll find out that soon there will be more cases of C-19 than people on the planet. So this is a case where the model is clearly the wrong one to use, not an uncommon situation in science. So what model is better? Here's a logistic model of population growth that may be better:

The logistic model allows for the rate of growth to decrease as people die or recover.

10. From Capt Leslie Kneipfer, the AEO for the Bridgewater State Univ squadron:

You've probably seen the satellite images showing the reduction in pollution since the virus shutdowns. Thought you'd be interested in this article on the effect the virus is having on the actual vibrations in the Earth.

Stay healthy and sane!!


Coronavirus lockdowns have changed the way Earth moves

11. From Col Bryan Cooper, my "boss" at Northeast Region CAP:

Amid school closures caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we've decided to launch an online series of the Redbird STEM+ Lab. The STEM+ Lab will feature interactive classes for students in middle school and high school. Beginning on March 31st, Redbird’s STEM Director Greg Roark will lead students through six virtual classes aimed at engaging their creativity and continuing to foster their interests in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) outside the classroom.

We'll hold the classes weekly, and students will be able to view or review video recordings of each class any time after they are released. A flight simulator is not required to participate, but students are encouraged to use their Redbird simulator or any flight simulation software that is accessible in their home.

The Redbird Virtual STEM Lab is free and open to the public. Students who are interested in participating should review the schedule below and register for updates at

Aviation Appreciation – March 31, 2020

It is hard to imagine an industry that could have as significant an impact on the planet in as little time as aviation. In this episode, we will cover a brief history of the aviation industry. We will explore how aviation's long and humble beginnings led to our dependence on airplanes today. We also will discuss the various ways that airplanes and aviation affect you and your local economy.

Airplane Basics – April 7, 2020

When do you first remember seeing an airplane? How did you know it was an airplane? In this episode, we will discuss an airplane’s distinguishing features—from spinners to empennages—and give a brief overview of how those features work.

Aviation Weather – April 14, 2020

When pilots fly airplanes, they always deal with the weather. Always. To deal with that weather, they first must understand where weather comes from, how it can change, and how it may affect their aircraft. In this episode, we will take a look at the weather and see how it affects air travel.

Basic Aviation Aerodynamics – April 21, 2020

What truly makes an airplane an “air” plane? What’s the difference between an airplane and a car? Why does February normally have only 28 days? Tune into this episode for the answers to these riveting questions.

Stalls: The Wing is the Thing – April 28, 2020

The wings are perhaps the most distinguishing characteristic of an airplane. Yet, they may be the least understood. In this episode, we will look at various aircraft wings, how they work, and—in some instances— how they don’t work.

Aeronautical Decision-Making – May 5, 2020

“Have a great day and make good choices.” You've heard that before, right? But would it surprise you to know that most people have never learned how to make good choices when they count the most? In this episode, we will look at an algorithm that can help you in your decision-making process. We also will discuss the relevance of this decision-making and how it applies in our world today.

12. From Maj Stephen Rocketto, CTWG DAE, see the lesson below ("The Planets.ppt")on the planets.

13. From Col Bryan Cooper, NER DCS/AE, here are some good links:

14. The below YouTube videos are especially useful for squadron AEOs, but I'm sure AEMs will find these useful!

Module 1-Introduction to Flight

MIT forces on aircraft (algebra used - advanced):

Forces on an aircraft (simpler than the MIT presentation):

Airplane Flight Controls:


Glider Flight:

History of Aviation (1hr46m):

Module 2-Aircraft Systems and Airports

P&W How a Jet Engine Works:

piston engine:

Airport Markings and Signs:

Aircraft Instruments:

Basic Parts of a Cessna 172:

Small Aircraft Engines:

Module 3-Air Environment

The Atmosphere:

Weather Basics, the Atmosphere:

Cloud Types:

Air Pressure:


Module 4-Rockets

Rocket Fuels:

Rockets and Missiles (53 min):

Rocket Staging:

History of Rockets:

How Do Rockets Work:

Newton's Laws of Motion:

Module 5-Space Environment

Scale of Solar System time, planets distance:

Celestial Objects:


Rotation and Revolution:

Gravity, Weight, and Mass:

Module 6-Living and Working in Space

Making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in space:

Living and Working on the Space Station:

Repairing the Hubble Telescope in Space:

How do Satellites Get and Stay in Orbit:

Satellite Types and Orbits:

The film begins with an overhead view of a man and woman picnicking in a park at the Chicago lakefront — a one-meter- square overhead image of the figures on a blanket surrounded by food and books they brought with them, one of them being The Voices of Time by J. T. Fraser. The viewpoint, accompanied by expository voiceover by Philip Morrison, then slowly zooms out to a view ten meters across (or 101 m in scientific notation). The zoom-out continues (at a rate of one power of ten per 10 seconds), to a view of 100 meters (102 m) then 1 kilometer (103 m) (where we see the entirety of Chicago), and so on, increasing the perspective and continuing to zoom out to a field of view of 10 24 meters, or the size of the observable universe. The camera then zooms back in at a rate of a power of ten per 2 seconds to the picnic, and then slows back down to its original rate into the man's hand, to views of negative powers of ten—10−1 m (10 centimeters), and so forth, revealing a skin cell and zooming in on it—until the camera comes to quarks in a proton of a carbon atom at 10−16 meter.[1]

15. Courtesy of Sue Mercer, an AEM: This might be something you want to pass along to those using the Snaptricity STEM kit. Elenco Electronics is making their Snap Circuits Teacher and Student Guides available for a limited time for free. Teacher & Student Guides - Elenco

16. From 1st Lt Deb Houle, Public Affairs officer at Goddard squadron: check out Framingham State University's virtual tour of their planetarium, including a link to the Solar Storm movie/presentation.

17. A virtual field trip to Hill AFB to see the F-35, narrated by the 419th Fighter Wing's Vice Commander:

18. As a NASA Solar System Ambassador, I received the following:

From Kim Orr of the JPL Education Office, FYI. Please share with your audiences…

Here’s what’s new this week and coming soon to Learning Space with NASA at Home!

Projects and video tutorials for Earth Day:

Explore More:

19. From C/Maj Lukas Johnson of the Hanscom CAP squadron comes the following outstanding activity!

Hanscom cadets have decided to have our virtual activity come in two parts. The supernova portion and the planet portion. The documents and links are attached below, but the general synopsis of the activities are: For the supernova activity, members will complete a short open-response quiz in conjunction with the AR supernova. For the planet activity, they will interact with the website's images and instructions, while cataloging screenshots of their findings, and labeling the images.

One senior member from each squadron should be chosen and once I've been notified of who that senior member is, I will send them the answer key to the supernova quiz. Screenshots of the cadet's findings and explanations should also go to that senior member. Send email to .

For the next aerospace virtual challenge, we are nominating Westover Composite Squadron.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask. Thank you!

Walking Through an Exploded Star:


In conjunction with the virtual tour, answer open questions on the WTES quiz (attached).

Planet Hunters:


Catalogue 5 to 10 interesting or relevant screenshots and offer a short explanation for each of them.

20. 2d Lt Jacob Zandi of the Goddard squadron passed along this cool video describing the technology behind the Sikorsky Comanche. It's about 7.5 minutes in length.

21. More stuff from NASA's Solar System Ambassador email list:

From Kim Orr of JPL’s Education Office, FYI…

Hi all,

Here’s what’s new this week and coming soon to Learning Space with NASA at Home!

Mars projects and video tutorials (Mars Helicopter/Perseverance Rover):

22. From USAF Lt Gen Robert McMurry, who's in charge of the AF Life Cycle Management Center. Interesting news about the new trainer! This will take the place of the T-38 Talon. It's named the "Red Hawk" to honor the Tuskegee Airmen, who had the tails of their aircraft painted red in WWII, and the first planes they flew in combat were the Curtis P-40 War Hawks.


Recently, during a developmental flight test at 5,000 feet, the T-7A Red Hawk – our new advanced pilot training aircraft, and T-38 replacement – reached the required maximum low-altitude speed of 557 knots or 641 mph! (See attached photo)

This significant milestone is due in large part to the efforts of our teammates in the Mobility and Training Aircraft Directorate, specifically the Training Aircraft Division. Their work with Boeing and other stakeholders to achieve important milestones ensures that the T-7A can be quickly fielded to train the next generation of fighter pilots.

Even though many of you are working from home, you’re still making a big impact on our Air Force and Nation. I can’t thank you enough for what you do. Keep up the GREAT work!


Lieutenant General

23. From Maj Michael Castania, my counterpart at NJWG:

Walking Through an Exploded Star:


In conjunction with the virtual tour, answer open questions on the WTES quiz (attached).

Planet Hunters:


Catalogue 5 to 10 interesting or relevant screenshots and offer a short explanation for each of them.

Where do airlines park their planes when they are not flying? This will give you a sense of how much we are not flying. It is a good chance for non-pilots to practice understanding radio call and airport markings. How soon can you spot the destination airport?

24. From my counterpart at WAWG, lots of online resources!

25. A great course on cyber security -- this one from 1st Lt Logan from Goddard Squadron:

This was a very intriguing aerospace excellence unit.

At the end, Lt Logan put up various ciphers to decode.

Each participant sent his/her answer directly to him, without sharing with others.

Here are the links that correspond with the course:

Kryptos Information

ROT / Ciphers Online

Caesar Cipher Project in Python

Python Coding Environment

Code for ROT (or Caesar) Ciphers

26. Check out the some of the NASA Express newsletters (see "nasa-express 23Apr2020.pdf," "30 Apr," "7 May," "4 Jun" and "11 Jun" below).

27. From John Frazier, a Boy Scout leader:

28. Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association (AOPA) has a great page of "Aviation Education options makes homeschooling fun":

29. From C/Capt Sontino Allentuck, cadet commander of the Westover Squadron:

Take a virtual tour of the New England Air Museum (NEAM), and take the quiz (see "NEAM Virtual Tour Questions.pdf" file below) that accompanies the tour.

Below, please find the link to the tour, including slides with interactive pictures of the museum. Descriptions and explanations of the interactive pictures are at the bottom of each slide.

Participating squadrons should select a senior member to monitor cadets' involvement with the tour and quiz. Please send me the name and email address of your chosen senior member. Once I have that information, I will send them the answer key for the quiz.

For the next aerospace virtual challenge, we are nominating Worcester Cadet Squadron.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at or 413-372-2242.

Here is the link to the NEAM tour:

30. From Sarah Eyermann of Afterschool Universe:

While the Afterschool Universe curriculum as a whole was designed for groups, several of the sessions can easily be done at home. We’ve listed the ones that lend themselves best to this.

As always, all of the session downloadable files are here:

And video demonstrations of select activities are here:

  • Session 1 - Modeling the Universe

Materials required: paper and craft supplies

  • Session 2 - Cosmic Survey

Materials required: downloadable print-and-cut cards

  • Session 7 - Stars and Their Lives (Part II)

Materials required: clay, soda cans, bowl, ice, water, oven mitts or tongs, tennis balls, ping pong balls

* adult supervision required

* Note: Session 6 serves as Part I to this activity. While the full activity is not practical to do with a small group, it should be at least read through, as it provides important background for Part II

  • Session 9 – Galaxies

Materials required: paper plates, toothpicks, styrofoam balls, markers/crayons, star stickers, ruler

  • Session 10 - Black Holes (first activity only)

Materials required: balloons, aluminum foil, measuring tape, kitchen scale, downloadable worksheet

Other NASA resources for at-home use

In addition to Afterschool Universe, NASA has many other resources. We’ve listed here a sampling of those that can be accessed from home:

  • Take a tour through the universe with our Cosmic Distance Scale interactive, which starts at Earth and zooms out into space:

  • Explore the history of our understanding of the universe during the past 100 years, from Einstein's formulation of gravity to the discovery of dark energy, through a set of newspapers and activities in Cosmic Times:

  • Join detective Eagle Quark as he investigates the mystery of the exploding stars through the Space Forensics interactive game:

  • You can learn about the universe, what’s in it, and how NASA studies it through a variety of websites aimed at kids:

    • Imagine the Universe (ages 14+):

    • Starchild (ages 5-13):

    • Space Place (upper elementary ages):

  • Digital versions of our educator booklets and posters, including our “What is Your Cosmic Connection to the Elements?” set, are located in our Educators Corner here:

NASA has also recently launched the “NASA at Home” project, a growing collection of resources and opportunities that parents, teachers, and kids can use outside the classroom. New content is being added regularly:

31. United Airlines has a great website with at-home aviation activities:

32. Conduct a virtual tour of the Intrepid Air/Sea/Space Museum!

33. How do the 44 nearest stars to Earth compare to our Sun? Find out at .

34. Remote STEM Learning Resource Guide — This page has lots of great lesson plans that can be used in the remote-learning environment!

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