For those who lived through the Cold War, the conflict was an unforgettable period of scientific, technological and engineering achievements as well as social and political tension, punctuated by intense military crises. For most young Americans born after the demise of the Soviet Union, the Cold War era history seems remote and difficult to understand. However, the science and technology is more familiar to young American students' everyday lives.
Combining the Cold War history with student learning objectives in science and mathematics, creates a unique methodology for real-world learning opportunities in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and history, STEM-H, using the Cold War Gallery exhibits.
In the summer of 2011, an educational program was initiated at the Cold War Gallery for talented teachers to develop Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) focused lesson plans, based on the exhibits and artifacts in the Cold War Gallery. The goal was to deliver these standards-based lesson plans
through the web as a companion to the on-line Virtual Tour of the Cold War Gallery's 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 the submarine technology and engineering portrayed in the exhibit, from which they developed science and mathematics lesson plans connected to their teaching standards. The teachers toured nuclear submarines on a trip to the world's largest naval base in Norfolk, VA. The wide selection of lesson plans is available through the links below. 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 teachers answer the question: "why do we need to know this?"
In the summer of 2012, our STEM program added history lesson planning to the fellowship program. 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-H inherent in the Covert Submarine Operations exhibit and toured a submarine in Norfolk, VA. The second team expanded the scope of the lesson plans 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 the Aegis destroyer USS Barry
(DDG-52). The lesson plans generated by both teams are included in the subject listings below.
For 2013 and beyond, the Naval Historical Foundation (NHF) intends to expand STEM-H fellowships to other Navy museums. In July 2013, the first of these "exported" fellowships will be conducted at the Submarine Force Library and Museum in Groton, Connecticut. Future NHF fellowships for middle school and high school teachers of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and U.S. History will be conducted at the historic Washington Navy Yard, Washington, DC and other participating Navy museums. Application details will be announced at NHF's website:www.navyhistory.org/programs/stem-teacher-fellowships/