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STEM Programs Sponsored by Arnold Air Force Base

AEDC Partnership with the Hands-On-Science-Center

Arnold Engineering Development Complex has partnered with the Hands-On-Science-Center (HOSC) in Tullahoma, TN to provide an exciting and interactive learning environment learning for teachers and students K-12. The mission to inspire and develop student interest in STEM careers, especially in communities that surround military bases, laboratories, and other Department of Defense facilities.

AEDC strives to match hands-on activities with the school's curriculum; making learning fun for teachers and students. AEDC speakers, with a wide variety of expertise and life experiences, may be provided to assist classes with a specific program of study.

Scientist, engineers and other professionals may be available to set up demonstrations at regional schools. The STEM center is equipped with hands-on demonstrations ranging from flight dynamics and robotics, to constellations and moon colonies.


MATHCOUNTS is a national enrichment, club and competition program that promotes middle school mathematics achievement through grassroots involvement in every U.S. state and territory. The program heightens student interest in mathematics by making math achievement challenging and exciting. At the beginning of each school year, the MATHCOUNTS Foundation provides a complimentary copy of the MATHCOUNTS School Handbook to every middle school across the country. Teachers and volunteers use the handbook and activities to coach student Mathletes, as part of in-class instruction or as an extracurricular activity. www.mathcounts.org

AEDC STEM sponsors multiple MATHCOUNTS teams.

Discovery Dome

The AEDC STEM Discovery Dome is a 16' diameter by 10' high portable facility capable of hosting up to 35 students and their teacher. It provides a full planetarium experience as well as STEM surround sound/videos tailored to the grade level of the students. It resides at the HOSC and can be used to support students from K-12.


The FIRST LEGO League is a partnership between FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) and The LEGO Group who created a powerful program that helps young people discover the fun in science and technology while building self-confidence, knowledge, and valuable employment and life skills. The league is a robotics program developed for youth ages 9 to 16. The work is programming an autonomous robot (using the LEGO® MINDSTORMS® robot set) to score points on a thematic playing surface, creating an innovative solution to a problem as part of their project.

AEDC STEM sponsors multiple FIRST Lego League Teams

Wind Tunnels

Static and portable wind tunnels are available to help students understand the dynamics of flight. The wind tunnels are equipped with fog solutions for viewing airflows, model airplane, model car, rotating cylinder and airfoil section. Speeds up to 40 mph may be achieved in the static wind tunnel. Students are able to control an objects angle of attack, rotation speed or airflow speed.


CyberPatriot is the premiere national high school cyber defense competition created to inspire high school students toward careers in cybersecurity or other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines critical to our nation's future. CyberPatriot V is open to all high schools, Civil Air Patrol Units, JROTC Units, US Naval Sea Cadet Corps Units and accredited home school programs around the country.

During competitions students are provided one to three virtual machines. The machines contain several vulnerabilities that students must identify and defend against. CyberPatriot was established by the Air Force Association. The Northrop Grumman Foundation is the Presenting Sponsor for CyberPatriot V. CyberPatriot's founding partners are SAIC and CIAS at the University of Texas-San Antonio.

AEDC STEM partners with the Women In Defense National Security Organization to sponsor several Cyber Patriot Teams.

Civil Air Patrol Aerospace Education Programs


Rocket Launchers

The center's rocket launchers give students experience with using the engineering process, building rockets, testing rockets and learning physics principles.

Team America Rocketry Challenge

Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC) is the Aerospace Industries Association's signature program and the only aerospace-specific national STEM competition, TARC has reached over 60,000 students in the past decade and involved over 4,000 students in 48 states.

An extra-curricular hands-on project-based learning program, the TARC competition is modeled around the aerospace industry's design, fabrication and testing processes. All students participate in a team of 3-10 students to design, build, and fly a rocket. Like aerospace companies work within specific design parameters, every year the challenge requires teams to achieve the same basic mission-oriented goals of hitting a precise altitude, landing within a specific flight time window, and returning a raw egg ("the astronaut") without cracking. AEDC STEM sponsors several TARC teams.

LEGO® Education WeDo Robotics Construction Set

The LEGO® Education WeDo Robotics Construction Set is an easy-to-use set that introduces young students to robotics when combined with the LEGO Education WeDo Robotics Software. Students will be able to build LEGO models featuring working motors and sensors; program their models; and explore a series of cross-curricular, theme-based activities while developing their skills in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, as well as language and literacy. The construction set comes with printed building instructions for 12 models and contains more than 150 elements including a motor, tilt sensor, motion sensor, and LEGO USB Hub.

ARIES Exploring Motion & Forces Kits

ARIES is a physical science curriculum for students in grades 5-8 that employs 18 inquiry-centered, hands-on lessons called "explorations" that teach motion and forces. The curriculum draws upon students' curiosity to explore phenomena, allowing for a discovery-based learning process. Group-centered lab work is designed to help students build an understanding of inertia, friction, gravity, speed, and acceleration. Students examine their prior ideas about the phenomena, formulate questions, build and use an apparatus to observe natural phenomena, make predictions, and gather data through structured experiments. Exploring Motion and Forces is part of the ARIES sequence of eight physical science units. The ARIES sequences can be used together for an overall curriculum or independently. The AEDC STEM Lending Library has checked out several ARIES Exploring Motion and Forces Kits to area schools and home school groups.

STEM Aviation Program

Utilizing the award winning Fly to Learn software, we offer a 10 lesson curriculum for graded 6-9 that teaches STEM topics using an aviation theme. Students fly virtual aircraft to study science concepts such as energy/forces and modify existing aircraft designs to improve aircraft performance and learn the engineering process. Students use math and graphs to predict performance and make informed design decision. Upon course completion, students are eligible for an actual flight in a glider with an instructor pilot.

AEDC STEM sponsors several schools each year.

STEM K-12 Lending Library

The following items are available for check out:

Rocket Launchers
Wind Tunnels
ARIES Exploring Motion and Forces Lesson Kits
LEGO® Education WeDo Robotics Construction Set
Cubelet Robotics Kits
Energy Conversion Kits
Water/Compressed Air Rocket Launchers
“Trash Can” Air Compressor Gun
SparkFun Electronics Kits
LEGO® Robotics Kits
Code & Go™ Programmable Robot Mouse Sets

NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge

Students are required to design a human powered exploration rover to be completely built and driven by two of their team members. The NASA Rover Challenge course winds around rockets and other space vehicles including a Saturn moon rocket, an engineering test unit of the space shuttle with its external fuel tank and solid rocket boosters, and a model of the Lunar Excursion Module, or LEM. The total length of the course is about seven-tenths of one mile. It is strewn with miscellaneous extraterrestrial surface like obstacles distributed randomly over the course. One of the interesting terrains on the course is a crater area in which the life-size replica of the LEM is located.

AEDC STEM sponsors several High School teams.


FIRST Jr. Lego League

Focused on building an interest in science and engineering in children ages 6-9, Junior FIRST® LEGO® League (Jr.FLL®) is a hands-on program designed to capture young children's inherent curiosity and direct it toward discovering the possibilities of improving the world around them. Just like FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL®), this program features a real-world challenge, to be solved by research, critical thinking and imagination. Guided by adult coaches and the Jr.FLL Core Values, students work with LEGO elements and moving parts to build ideas and concepts and present them for review.

AEDC STEM sponsors several Jr. Lego League Teams

FIRST Tech Challenge

FTC is designed for those in Grades 7-12 who want to compete head to head, using a sports model. Teams of up to 10 students are responsible for designing, building, and programming their robots to compete in an alliance format against other teams. The robot kit is reusable from year-to-year and is programmed using a variety of languages. Teams, including coaches, mentors and volunteers, are required to develop strategy and build robots based on sound engineering principles. Awards are given for the competition as for well as for community outreach, design, and other real-world accomplishments.

AEDC STEM helps sponsor several FIRST Tech Challenge Teams

FIRST Robotics Competition

Combining the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology. We call FIRST Robotics Competition the ultimate Sport for the Mind. High-school student participants call it “the hardest fun you’ll ever have.” Under strict rules, limited resources, and an intense six-week time limit, teams of students are challenged to raise funds, design a team "brand," hone teamwork skills, and build and program industrial-size robots to play a difficult field game against like-minded competitors. It’s as close to real-world engineering as a student can get. Volunteer professional mentors lend their time and talents to guide each team. Each season ends with an exciting FIRST Championship.
AEDC STEM sponsors a FIRST Robotics Competition Team


The Air Force Association (AFA) has created a program designed to inspire and attract high school students to pursue STEM education and careers. The vision for the program is to provide a hands-on, high school, space design challenge involving all aspects of space system development and operation with a spacecraft and payload focus. The goal is to create a fun experience that can be offered to large numbers of students with diverse interested and academic abilities, while exposing them to a dynamic, challenging industry critical to the American way of life.
AEDC STEM partners with the Women In Defense National Security Organization to sponsor several StellarXplorers Team.

VEX Robotics Competition

The VEX Robotics Competition a middle and high school robotics program with more than 4,800 teams from 20 countries playing in over 300 tournaments worldwide. Students, with guidance from their teachers and mentors, aim to build the most innovative robots possible and work together to obtain the most points possible. In addition to just having a great time and building amazing robots, through their participation in the VEX Robotic Competition and their work within their team, students will learn many academic and life skills.

The VEX Robotics Competition a middle and high school robotics program with more than 4,800 teams from 20 countries playing in over 300 tournaments worldwide. Students, with guidance from their teachers and mentors, aim to build the most innovative robots possible and work together to obtain the most points possible. In addition to just having a great time and building amazing robots, through their participation in the VEX Robotic Competition and their work within their team, students will learn many academic and life skills.

AEDC STEM helps sponsor several VEX Robotics Competition Team https://www.vexrobotics.com/vexedr/competition

AEDC STEM Summer Camp

AEDC works with the HOSC to sponsors several STEM summer camps covering a wide range of topics. At the camps students become an active part of the learning process and learn by doing. The camp also stresses being able to work in a team. The entire group becomes a family and the work and build projects in small and large groups.  

Reach for the Stars National Rocket Competition

AEDC STEM Program and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) sponsor Reach for the Stars National Rocket Competitions where students build and launch model rockets as part of a national spot landing contest. Each participant receives a certificate with artwork by Alan Bean, astronaut and moonwalker from Apollo 12. The winners from each state earn the right to compete for the national title at the US Space Camp in Huntsville, AL. This is an annual event conducted at the University of Tennessee Space Institute.

Story Time From Space

Using the award-winning Max the Dog books flown to the International Space Station (ISS) in January 2014 aboard the Cygnus CRS Orb-1, the AEDC STEM program sends volunteers to schools to hold "Story Time from Space". These engaging books contain interesting technical details scalable to all student levels and chronicles the journeys of Max the Dog who travels to the ISS, the Moon, Mars and Jupiter.

STEM Facebook

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Arnold AFB- FCHS Straw Rocket Build and Launch at Franklin County Fall Family Night
Arnold AFB- Great read on Puckett Field at Eagleville Soaring Club in Eagleville, where graduates of the AF STEM Fly to Learn Program, get to fly at glider plane with an instructor pilot.
Arnold AFB-Students from East Middle School completed the Fly to Learn Program and had the opportunity to fly a ASK 21 Glider Plane at Eagleville Soaring Club with an instructor pilot.
Arnold AFB- Civil Air Patrol Graduation at Beechcraft Museum. 20 Graduates had the opportunity to learn how to fly a glider plane.
McConnell had a great STEM Camp this week.

AF STEM Website


For more information contact the Hands-On-Science-Center.

101 Mitchell Blvd
Tullahoma, TN, 37388
Email: hosc@lighttube.net

Hours of Operation:
Wednesday - Saturday 10 am to 5 pm
Sunday 1 to 2 pm

Social Media:
Air Force STEM

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About AEDC

AEDC has test facilities ranging from large wind tunnels and altitude jet and rocket test cells to space chambers, ballistic ranges, arc heaters (to simulate the high temperature generated reentering the Earth's atmosphere) to small research test cells. The center's unique test facilities simulate flight from sea level to space and from subsonic to hypersonic speeds approaching Mach 20.