In the summer of 2011, an educational program was initiated at the National Museum of the United States Navy’s Cold War Gallery to develop Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) focused lesson plans. The goal was to deliver standards-based lesson plans through the web as a companion to the on-line Virtual Tour of the Cold War Gallery exhibits. Eight teachers from around the United States, recipients of STEM Fellowship awards, traveled to Washington, DC, for a two-week program focusing on the Covert Submarine Operations exhibit. The teachers were provided in-depth presentations on submarine technology and engineering portrayed in the exhibit, from which they developed science and mathematics lesson plans connected to their teaching standards. They toured nuclear submarines on a trip to the world’s largest naval base in Norfolk, VA. The wide selection of lesson plans created are available HERE. The lesson plans incorporate the rich multimedia found in the Cold War Gallery Virtual Tour to make learning an engaging and fun experience for middle school and high school students, and to help the teacher answer the question “why do we need to know this?”
STEM Plus History
In the summer of 2012, our STEM program added history. Since the history of our Navy is also a history of technology, adding U.S. history teachers to our STEM fellowship teams provided an additional focus on Cold War history. Norman Augustine recently wrote: “Students who are exposed to more modern methods of history education – where critical thinking and research are emphasized – tend to perform better in math and science. In my position as CEO of a firm employing 80,000 engineers, I can testify that most were excellent engineers – but the factor that most distinguished those who advanced in the organization was the ability to think broadly and read and write clearly.” The STEM-H lesson plans produced during the summer of 2012 included a historical focus on the 50th Anniversary of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis: “Thirteen days in October.” One team of fellows continued lesson planning based on STEM inherent in the Covert Submarine Operations exhibit and toured a submarine in Norfolk, VA. The second team expanded to include air warfare, surface warfare, and research & development. They toured the Navy’s flight testing and aviation R&D labs at Patuxent River Naval Air Station and an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer in Norfolk, VA.
Exporting STEM-H Fellowships
For 2013 STEM-H teacher fellowships, the Naval Historical Foundation (NHF) is expanding the fellowships beyond the National Museum of the U.S. Navy at the Washington Navy Yard, with the goal of expanding to naval-related museums nationwide. For 2014 and beyond, NHF hopes to offer fellowships for high school teachers of science, technology, engineering, math and U.S. History to work in teams at many more participating Navy museums.
NHF continues to build relationships and promote naval history through the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) plus History grant-funded partnership with the Office of Naval Research (ONR), the U.S. Naval Academy (USNA), and Navy Museums nationwide. Our first year of the grant achieved 400% of the goal. Eleven U.S. Navy museum and five historic naval ship museum educators were trained with NHF grant funds. At USNA’s STEM Center workshops, the museum educators engage in hands-on STEM problem-solving activities with naval applications. Using their new knowledge, plus the plans and materials provided by USNA, the educators build and improve their own outside-the-classroom Navy STEM programs for their local community, including training for local teachers. Growing the cadre’ of USNA-trained Navy and historic navy ship museum educators, expanding the number of STEM-H activities and lesson plans, and incorporating the education materials on this website, are the major objectives of the second year of the three-year grant.
Support our STEM-H Program
The Naval Historical Foundation depends on the generous contributions of individuals and corporations to support our STEM-H Program. We thank all those who have contributed in the past, and encourage others to consider a donation to support this important program, which educates our teachers on the importance of the U.S. Navy and its proud history. If you are interested in supporting STEM-H, please contact Captain John Paulson, at (202) 678-4333, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NHF STEM-H Partners