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STARBASE Martinsburg

STARBASE Martinsburg, located with the 167th Airlift Wing at Shepherd Field in Martinsburg, West Virginia, is part of DoD STARBASE, a premier educational program sponsored by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Manpower and Reserve Affairs.  At STARBASE Martinsburg, students participate in challenging "hands-on, minds-on" activities in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). Students interact with military personnel to explore careers and observe STEM applications. Each academy, primarily serving fifth-graders in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia, provides students with 25 hours of stimulating experiences. The program encourages students to set and achieve goals, and aims to motivate students to explore STEM opportunities as they continue their education.


The program engages students through the inquiry-based curriculum with its "hands-on, minds-on"; experiential activities. Each academy chooses a customized curriculum from a large offering of peer-reviewed learning opportunities in each STEM area, such as: Newton's Laws and Bernoulli's principle, robotics, and engineering as they use the computer to design space stations, all-terrain vehicles, and submersibles. Math is embedded throughout the curriculum and students use metric measurement, estimation, calculation geometry, and data analysis to solve questions. Teamwork is stressed as they work together to explore, explain, elaborate, and evaluate concepts.

A. Science Fundamentals Objectives

1. The learner will conclude there are more than 100 known elements that combine in a multitude of ways to produce compounds, which account for all living and non-living substances, and that atoms combine to form molecules and molecules formed from different atoms combine to form compounds.

2. The learner will understand that all energy can be classified as potential energy (such as chemical, mechanical, nuclear, and gravitational energy) or kinetic energy (such as radiant, thermal, motion, sound, and electrical energy) and that energy transfers in many ways, such as heat, light, electricity, mechanical motion, sound, and the nature of a chemical.

3. The learner will conclude a change in the state of matter of a substance is the result of a change in kinetic energy.

4. The learner will differentiate between a physical change in which matter changes state or form and a chemical change in which one or more new substances are formed.

Activities: Creating and Building Molecular Models, Energy Explorations, States of Matter Experiments, Physical and Chemical Changes Experiments

B. Characteristic Properties Objectives

1. The learner will identify a fluid as a liquid or gas and will understand that any material that flows is a fluid, which has no fixed shape, and changes its shape continuously when acted on by an external stress.

2. The learner will recognize a substance has characteristics properties, such as density, viscosity, boiling point, surface tension, compressibility, and solubility, all of which are independent of the amount of the sample.

Activities: Introduction to Fluid Mechanics with Bernoulli’s Experiments, What’s the Solution? (Density)

C. Motion & Force Objectives

1. The learner will demonstrate that an object in motion will stay in motion or an object at rest will stay at rest unless acted upon by an outside force. (Newton’s First Law)

2. The learner will determine that acceleration is produced when a force acts on a mass. The greater the mass, the greater the amount of force necessary to accelerate the mass. (Newton’s Second Law)

3. The learner will conclude every action is followed by a reaction equal in magnitude and opposite in direction. (Newton’s Third Law)

Activities: Introduction to Motion & Force with Newton’s Activities and Straw Rockets

D. Science Explorations Objectives

1. The learner will utilize scientific principles to examine the world around us while investigating the relationship of science to society, technology, mathematics, and other disciplines

Activities: Introduction to Navigation and Mapping with Top Secret Mission

A. Tools of Technology Objectives

1. The learner will investigate technological innovations. 2. The learner will employ technologies to solve a simulated or real-world problem.

Activities: Coding the Road

A. Number Relationships Objectives

1. The learner will solve problems using ratios expressed as a fraction, a decimal, or a percent.

                Activities: Finding the Percentage

B. Measurement Objectives

1. The learner will apply appropriate standard units and tools to measure length.

2. The learner will apply appropriate standard units and tools to measure liquid volume.

3. The learner will apply appropriate standard units and tools to measure mass.

Activities: Basic Measurement – Length, Basic Measurement - Liquid Volume, Basic Measurement – Mass


C. Geometry Objectives

1. The learner will recognize geometric properties and relationships and apply them to specific problems using a coordinate plane, angle, area, surface area, or volume.

Activities: The Fly on the Ceiling

D. Data Analysis Objectives

1. The learner will collect data using observations and experiments.

2. The learner will represent data using tables and graphs.

3. The learner will collect and analyze data to identify solutions and/or make informed decisions.

Activities: Basic Graphing, Warm Ups and Cool Downs

A. Engineering Design Process (EDP) Objectives

1. The learner will recognize the engineering design process is a method of problem solving used to create a system, a product, or a process that meets an identified need.

2. The learner will apply the steps of the Engineering Design Process to solve a simulated or real-world problem.

Activities: Introduction to the Engineering Design Process with Eggbert

B. 3-D Computer-Aided Design (CAD) Objectives

1. The learner will construct a 3-D scale model based on geometric relationships using engineering design software and computer technology as required by OASD/RA.

2. The learner will use engineering design software to demonstrate basic CAD operation and skills in the areas of: • Sketching (2-D geometry creation and modification) • Geometric and dimensional constraints (applying appropriate constraints) • Modeling (3-D modeling skills and modifications) • Assemblies (understanding and creating simple assemblies)

3. The learner will relate geometric relationships and mathematical applications to parameters of CAD.

Activities: DoD Scavenger Hunt, DoD Gyro-vehicle, DoD Space Station, DoD Mars Base, DoD Rescue Diver

1. The learner will develop an awareness that scientists, technicians, engineers and mathematicians work on military facilities.



Sherra Triggs

Program Director


Jena Hinchman

Office Manager


Chris Fleming

Program Instructor


Ashley Spies

Program Instructor


Amy Guiney

Program Instructor


Jessica Stemper

Program Instructor


Katie Meddings

Instructor Assistant


Stephanie Hinchman

Instructor Assistant



167th Airlift Wing, West Virginia Air National Guard
222 Sabre Jet Blvd., Building 120, Room G08
Martinsburg, WV 25404-7704


STARBASE 2.0 combines STEM activities with a relationship-rich, school-based afterschool environment to provide the missing link for at-risk youth making the transition from elementary to middle and on to high school. It extends the positive impact of STARBASE through an afterschool STEM mentoring approach which solidifies students’ attachment to and engagement with school.

STARBASE 2.0 targets sixth to eighth graders.  Club meetings will take place afterschool at schools selected by each STARBASE programs.  Every meeting will be spearheaded by a lead STEM mentor.  Clubs meet a minimum of four hours per month at regularly scheduled times.  These groups consist of one STEM mentor and 3-4 students working together.  


Research has found that afterschool programs provide safe environments and support school goals.  In addition, benefits of school-based afterschool programs are:

1. They are highly structured.

2. They empower schools.

3. They appeal to non-traditional mentors (e.g. those with busy schedules).


STARBASE 2.0 is a middle school mentoring program that is an extension of the Department of Defense STARBASE program.  The purpose of STARBASE 2.0 is to combine STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) with a relationship-rich, school-based environment to provide the missing link for at-risk youth making the transition from elementary to middle and on to high school.  It extends the positive impact of DoD STARBASE through a S.T.E.M. mentoring approach which solidifies students' attachment to and engagement with school.



The DoD STARBASE Program first originated in Detroit, Michigan as Project STARS in 1991. The original curriculum focused on exposing at-risk youth, (4-6 grade) to innovative hands-on activities in science, technology, and mathematics based on the physics of flight. Under the guidance of Brig. Gen. David Arendts, 127th wing commander at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, students were invited to Selfridge to participate and witness the application of scientific concepts in a "real world" setting. National Guard personnel demonstrated the use of science, mathematics, engineering, and technology in their fields of expertise and served as role models to the attending students. In FY 1993, the U.S. Congress appropriated funds for DoD STARBASE 
and piloted the program in seven states. There are locations spread across the United States and its territories. To accommodate the growing demand for additional STEM programs, a structured after school mentoring program, STARBASE 2.0, for middle school students was piloted in 2010 at five locations. The program's success relies on collaboration between the sponsoring military unit and STARBASE Academy, the school district, and local communities. The goal is for each STAR BASE Academy to sponsor a 2.0 program.