Starbase Robins turns 20 years old

  • Published
  • By Angela Woolen
  • Robins Public Affairs
For 20 years, Starbase Robins has been providing students with opportunities to learn about science, technology, engineering and math.

Today, Starbase celebrates its 20th year with a ribbon cutting at the Museum of Aviation Century of Flight Hangar at 12:15 p.m.

Fifth grade students spend five weeks at the Museum of Aviation as part of the Department of Defense program which promotes the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) curriculum in Middle Georgia public and private schools. 

The program is a partnership between Air Force Reserve Command, the Museum of Aviation and the MOA Foundation.

According to its website, Starbase was created in Michigan in 1989. Robins started its operation in 1996. Since its inception, about 17,000 students have gone through with test scores increasing 30 points on average.

"We do lessons with a mixture of science, chemistry, Newton's Laws of Motion and different variables of math," said Starbase Robins director   Wesley Fondal.

Each student is tested on STEM subjects before beginning the program. After the five-week immersion in the material, the fifth-graders go from a 45 percent to a 71 percent on the tests.

One of the most exciting days for students is the rocket launch. The fifth-graders launch rockets while making predictions on how far it will travel and why.

"My favorite part was when it landed in a tree," said 10-year-old Toni Rogers who attends Porter Elementary School in Macon. The launches are conducted in front of the Century of Flight Hangar, come rain or come shine.

Starbase 2.0 also has an Afterschool STEM Mentoring Club which meets at 10 Middle Georgia middle schools. 

Students participate in a variety of projects including researching, designing and building a biodome. They also participate in the Lego League competitions.

Thirty students at Thomson Middle School were chosen based on applications and teacher recommendations out of twice as many applicants.

Seventh-grader Rebecca Thomas has been in the Lego League since fifth grade at Quail Run Elementary School. 

She signed up for Starbase because she found out they had a team.

"I really like engineering," the 13-year-old said.

With a program like Starbase, elementary and middle schoolers get the knowledge and hands-on experience they need for STEM careers.

"It is exciting to see how excited they are. We get to see them stretch their minds a little bit," said Audra Hubbard, a Starbase instructor.

Editor's note: For more information about Starbase, call 478-926-1769 or visit