By Harry SarlesOctober 15, 2019
Fort Leavenworth welcomed 30 science, technology, engineering and math juniors and seniors from nine high schools in Kansas City's Northland area Oct. 9. Instead of a lecture on the history and mission of one of the Army's oldest installations the students were treated to a space-age learning adventure at the U.S. Army's Command and General Staff College.
Arriving at the Lewis and Clark Center, the students were broken down into teams of 4 and each student was assigned one of four work stations on a space-ship bridge -- helm, weapons, science, and engineering.
According to Jim Sterrett of the college's Directorate of Simulation Education, they selected the Artemis Spaceship Bridge Simulator as the experience because it is reasonably easy to learn and very strongly focused on teamwork and communication. "Each station needs to do its job well in order for the ship to succeed, and to do their job well, each station needs to communicate with the other stations," said Sterrett. "We set up 4 ships, all crewed, with a Commodore trying to coordinate them; to succeed as the full group, the players need to communicate effectively inside their ship, and with the other ships and the Commodore."
Director of Simulation Education, Lt. Col. John Lord, led the exercise for the STEM Students. He introduced each work station and explained the team functions and then let the students experience the simulation. After several minutes he stopped the simulation to ask the students about their experience and how the team could improve. The answer, better communication and teamwork.
After a quick after-action review, Lord restarted the simulation, at a higher level, and teams enjoyed more success. Still, it took continued instruction and encouragement to get the every member of the teams communicating well.
"We want the students to walk away with a better understanding of the military's reliance on communication and teamwork to enable us to fight outnumbered and win; and of the role that simulations play in training roles, teamwork, and communication at all levels of the military," explained Sterrett.
The visiting student are participating in a program called Northland CAPS (Center for Advanced Professional Studies). According to the organization's website, "Northland CAPS is a profession‐based learning approach where students are fully immersed in the business community, treated as professionals and participate in real projects, using industry standard tools with real business partners."
According to Curt Kelly, instructor for the program, the students learn various applications of STEM in government, business, and industry during the fall semester and participate in internship programs the following spring. The Kansas City Recruiting Battalion hosted the tour of Fort Leavenworth with the intent of showing students how technology is used in Professional Military Education.