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Teacher Holly Mentillo uses CAP resources to bring rocketry, other STEM to life for K-6th graders

Posted on January 15, 2020 at 12:35 PM by Virginia Smith

Holly Mentillo says her students are spellbound when launching their CAP Rocketry STEM Kit rockets

January 15, 2020

Meet Holly Mentillo, a K-6 gifted-student educator from Brevard County, Florida, and a long-time CAP Aerospace Education Member. We asked her to answer some questions and give some insight to other AEMs. This is her story.:

Tell us about the school where you work: I teach a gifted program for 95 students in grades K-6 at Ocean Breeze Elementary, Brevard Public Schools, Indian Harbour Beach, Florida.

How many years have you been an educator? 27 years

How many years have you been an AEM? More than 15 years

How did you get involved in the AEM Program? I was excited about all the excellent resources.

Why do you work in the Aerospace Education/STEM arena? Because it makes the kids think … and wonder. Kids research and plan, build and test … they succeed and they fail. The cool thing about this area of study is that after failure, they can try again!

What do you and your students like about Civil Air Patrol programs/materials? CAP materials and lessons are hands-on. The activities always have the science supporting the lesson, helping teachers feel more confident teaching the lesson. The activities cover all grade levels and many different curriculum areas.

What is the best advice you have for a new AEM working with CAP programs and materials? Always try the activity yourself before the lesson with the kids. You can gauge issues they might have and the time it will take them. Give plenty of time. They like to "play" before or after the activities. Pick and choose what works for you and your class; there is so much available. Don't feel you have to do it all.

Please tell a story of a rewarding experience working with students using CAP programs: The most rewarding aspect of CAP activities is the wonder and amazement in the faces of the kids. I remember the first time I used the Estes Rocketry STEM Kit rockets with the kids, the first time they heard the ssfftt sound of a launch. They were spellbound. Their little faces all turned to the sky … then the excitement! Great time!

Is there anything else you'd like to add? Please remind AEMs or those thinking about becoming an AEM that the registration is a one-time fee only. Renewal is free, but they must respond to the email CAP sends or remember to renew as their expiration nears.



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