Building Bridges with the Army

News from the Middle School classroom

March 12, 2022

Written by: Mrs. Kamille L. Dawson

Middle School Science/Math Teacher


Bonjour!!! I am back with another update on what our Middle Schoolers have been up to in Science. But first I have a very important question for you. What is STEM?

In theory we all know what STEM stands for(Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) but do we truly know what STEM is and why teachers implement it into their classrooms. Let’s discuss this further.

A STEM structured education is important because it permeates every aspect of our lives. In the world around us Science is everywhere, technology continues to evolve at an alarming rate and has been integrated into every facet of our lives. STEM is a method to education that focuses on the hard Sciences, develops critical thinking skills, and improves problem solving abilities. This approach is directly related to 21st Century Skills which is what a lot of businesses are looking for in respective hires. Also according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, individuals that work in the field of STEM earn 26 percent more than individuals who do not have a STEM background. GO STEM!


What does all of this have to do with the Middle Schoolers at PNA?


National Engineers Week

This year our 7th and 8th graders had the opportunity to participate in this event on February 24th with the volunteers from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Alaska District. Let’s learn more about this event from Colonel Damon A. Delarosa.

In 1951 the National Society of Professional Engineers began “National Engineers Week.” This week was started to acknowledge the contributions of engineers advancing this incredible Nation. It is always celebrated on the week of George Washington’s birthday, who many believe to be this country’s first engineer. This celebration has since grown to also incorporate science, technology and mathematics, and emphasize the importance of STEM to the next generation. Excerpt from PNA’s weekly update 2/21/22

The week of February 21st-25th was intended to show students across Anchorage how engineers make a difference to the world and boost an awareness of our need for engineers. The yearly observance of Engineers Week also helps boost interest in engineering fields as well as helps to ensure that there will be a diverse future in engineering. During the week volunteers from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Alaska District will be at PNA and surrounding schools throughout the week to hopefully inspire some students to continue to explore the possibilities of STEM.


Building Bridges that ARMY Strong

The group of volunteers first started by explaining what exactly the Army Corps of Engineers is and how they impact our community through their profession.  By being Civil, Mechanical, Environmental, and Electrical Engineers these men and women presented a lesson covering what an engineer actually is-creating devices, processes, or systems that serve our society. 

What better device than a bridge!  Can you name all 5 types of bridges? But why name them when you can build them! Our students used toothpicks and marshmallows to test their engineering skills by building bridges. What an exciting and practical way to see Science/STEM at work!

Check out the photos below of our Future Engineers!



Thank you for taking the time to read my Blog.


Until next time I leave you with this quote by African American novelist Ralph Ellison.


Education is all a matter of Building Bridges.