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American Indian students participate in Starbase

Fifth-grade Native American students at St. Joseph's Indian School recently participated in Starbase.

St. Joseph's students learn with the Starbase program.

In the mobile classroom, each American Indian student has a workspace with a laptop computer.

Starbase is a high-tech science program that operates out of a mobile classroom, reaching students all over South Dakota.

“It’s a pretty amazing experience,” said Brock, one of St. Joseph’s Indian School fifth-grade instructors.

“The technology we have access to through the mobile classroom isn’t what we would normally use here at St. Joseph's Indian School. The students had a lot of fun and learned so much.”

As an introduction to engineering, students used a computer program to create a space station, which was then printed off as a poster. Our American Indian youngsters learned about chemistry by building molecules.

Through the construction and launching of a rocket, the Lakota children now better understand the laws of physics.

Lakota (Sioux) students constructed their rockets using plastic straws, rubber-tipped cones and fins of their own design. The rockets were launched with air pressure rather than firepower, and the goal was to land the rocket on a target shaped like the moon.

The Native American students had a lot of fun!

LaChasity adjusts her rocket’s angle before her second launch attempt.

With each launch, students adjusted the force of air pressure and the angle of their launch to hit their target.

In addition to launching rockets, the American Indian students conducted experiments that involved mixing materials together, measuring and weighing objects and recording temperatures.

Starbase instructors Lori Jeffery Kirk and Jolene Kayser travel across South Dakota teaching science and technology while building team skills, self-esteem and encouraging personal goal setting.

These lessons are very important to teach when working with our Native American children in need.

In the mobile classroom, the pair serves more than 500 students in numerous elementary schools across South Dakota. The program is a joint effort of the United States Department of Defense and the Army Air National Guard.

You can find more about this story while reading St. Joseph's Indian School's blog post about this fun, exploding program!


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