Civil Air Patrol is responsible for educating its members and the public on the important role aviation, space, cyber, and STEM play in America’s future.
The aerospace education program serves adults and youth in kindergarten through 12th grades, reaching more than 500,000 youth each year with hands-on aerospace/STEM lessons and materials. The program offers an engaging, standards-based curriculum designed to promote interest in STEM-related careers. This includes a STEM Kit Program, K-6 STEM Program, teacher orientations flights, and hundreds of engaging lessons in more than 40 curriculum products.
More than 20 STEM Kits are available to our CAP units and to teachers who are CAP aerospace education members for use in instructing on a variety of age-appropriate topics, like astronomy, hydraulics, robotics, navigation, renewable energy, electronics, drones, rocketry, flight simulation, and more. Approximately 80% of students who use the kits say they become more interested in aerospace, aviation, and related STEM careers.
Squadron aerospace education officers oversee the aerospace education portion of cadet and adult member programs. Aerospace education officers facilitate discussions about current events in aerospace, ensure cadet orientation flights are taking place, and work with the unit activities officer to plan activities for cadets and adult members.
These activities vary widely and may include building model rockets, competing in Civil Air Patrol’s High-Altitude Balloon Challenge, and participating in online meetings with astronauts, military pilots, and scientists.These programs and products are offered free to CAP’s aerospace education members, who teach in both formal and informal settings, including home-schooling. Schools, museums, libraries, and youth organizations can take advantage of this program.
Aerospace Connections in Education (ACE)
ACE is an aerospace-themed program for educators in grades K-6 who are CAP aerospace education members. This program provides engaging and meaningful cross-curricular aerospace-themed lessons that support STEM initiatives and enrich the school curricula. Additionally, many lessons promote good character and physical fitness, which are components of CAP's Cadet Program. Thus, the ACE program is a great introduction to CAP, especially for youth who may be interested in learning more about aviation and possibly becoming members of the cadet program for youth, ages 12-18.
Teacher Orientation Program Flights (TOP Flight)
One of the most exciting benefits of being a Civil Air Patrol aerospace education member is the opportunity to experience the thrill and science of flight in a CAP aircraft with an experienced CAP pilot at a local airport.
This exhilarating program includes a preflight briefing and allows the teacher to take the controls if desired. If possible, the pilot can design the flight plan to fly over the school with students watching from the ground. The teacher or principal can speak to the students on the ground via cellphone to ground speaker.
Taking videos and/or photos to share the experience with student or even live streaming this flight will transfer flight excitement to youth in hopes of generating greater interest in STEM subjects using the aviation theme.