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Aerospace Connections in Education (ACE)

WHAT is ACE? Click on ACE info flier in Related Documents, right, or, HERE.

Aerospace Connections in Education (ACE) Program Information:

2023-2024 Schools Listed by State (as of 1 April, 2024)   

101,384 Students  658 Teachers  548 Schools   48 States, 1 APO

AY 2023-2024 ACE GOAL: 100,000 Student Faces of ACE! 

**** ACE Teachers MADE IT!!!! A new record!!!

  • Almost 700,000 ACE students have been influenced toward an interest in STEM careers since the program's inception in 2007.

The 2023-2024 National ACE Lift-off Event was conducted at the site of the 2023 National ACE School of the Year, Goldsboro Elementary Magnet School in Sanford, FL

>>> See 2023-2024 National ACE Lift-off article about the event. 



2022-2023 academic year record: 97,911 students; 525 schools; 607 teachers; 46 states/1 APO - a 15% increase from the almost 85,000 ACE students the previous year 


See CAP.News article about 2022-2023 national ACE Lift-off event at Bluff Park Elementary School in Hoover, AL. 

2023 National ACE & ACE Plus Adopt Awards Announced, HERE!

Click on each award to read about the recipient!  Congratulations to each! 

Thanks to the Air & Space Forces Association for the award grants!       


  • The ACE program is designed for grades K-6, but schools with 7th and 8th graders can also register those students for the 6th grade curriculum. (So, the program is open for K-8th grades!)

  • Both in-school (formal) and informal or afterschool programs can use the ACE program.

  • ACE teachers in grades 5-8 can have their classrooms 'adopted' by a CAP squadron in the ACE Plus program.  (Adopt registrations are open each year from 1 September until ACE registration closes March 31st.)

Best Practice Example: Click on the video below to see the collaboration between GLR-MI-059 Adrian Composite Squadron and Prairie Elementary School in Adrian, MI.  Read about their collaboration, HERE.  The squadron recruited the teachers, helped them register for ACE, and then brought in adults and cadets to teach lessons and plan field trips for the students.  Next step?  Invite age-appropriate students to visit the squadron and hopefully join as a cadet!    



  •  ACE shirts are available for purchase for $5 each and can be ordered using the order form on the shirts page. 


Already an ACE teacher? Go to the ACE teachers' page.

Aren't a CAP educator member at this time, but wish to be so you can participate in the ACE program? With all the priceless, but no charge free benefits, to include the amazing no-cost STEM Kit program provided to any CAP member who is an educator, the one-time membership fee of $35 is well worth it!

Want to know more about the AE member program?  Check out the Educators Page with all the free programs - and the registration link to join as an AE member. 


For CAP and AFA teams which may want to support the ACE program: 

How can Civil Air Patrol squadrons connect with ACE Schools?

Click on Info for Squadron Assistance in ACE flier in Related Documents, above, or, HERE.   

The Air & Space Forces Association helps to support the ACE program with end-of-year ACE certificates and award grants.

Click on Info for AFA Chapter ACE support ideas HERE 

* See AFA article about CAP's program award HERE 



Looking back on 2022-2023:

Get a historical perspective of this program with the CAP Volunteer magazine 10-year ACE program article. (Features then CAP and AFA leaders on page 1.)    See more historical info at bottom of page. 


The ACE program is making a difference in classrooms around the country: improving attendance, reasoning and critical thinking skills; increasing CAP cadet membership; enhancing aligned academic standards; and MORE!

Read the following examples and check out more ACE Accolades and impressive outcomes HERE!

         Students' images of a scientist changed from mostly white males, resembling Einstein, at the beginning of the year to those of the same ethnicity and gender of the students by the end of the year!

    ~ Mrs. Leda Mares, 3rd grade teacher, Searles Elementary School, Union City, CA (2nd year ACE teacher)================================================================

     My students' science scores were the highest in the district, with an overall 37% improvement in state testing scores across the board.  I strongly believe it has a lot to do with the materials and lessons I was able to utilize with the ACE program and CAP materials!

~ Mr. Luke McKinley, K-6 Science Lab Teacher, Martin Luther King School, Toledo, OH (2nd year ACE teacher)


     Through the years I have facilitated ACE and CAP school squadron programs in my school and in other schools throughout our district. Through the ACE program and CAP school squadrons we have had multiple students who have made significant academic and behavioral improvements.  We have had countless students who have chosen STEM careers in the private sector and in the military. Multiple students are A&P certified, pilots, and engineers, or, are studying in these fields.
      We had one specific (challenging) student who started in the ACE program in 2008.  Results?  He went on to join a CAP school squadron; recently graduated from West Point Military Academy; and completed his studies as a Rhodes Scholar.  How do you define success?  This is IT!
     ~Brainard Harris, Technology Resource Specialist and Aerospace Engineering Technologies 1 teacher, Stewart Middle Magnet School, Tampa, FL (ACE teacher from the beginning, 2007-2021)  * Also CAP Group 3 Chaplain, FL Wing 


     Having access to this program has brought my students out of the textbook and into reality.  They are able to apply true engineering application to the science classroom.  My state scores have improved from an average of 80% passing to 95% passing the 5th grade science test. I have used the leadership lessons to develop a classroom student council body.  The physical education activities are used during a family fun night. The program has encouraged many students to continue a focus on a science specific education.  
   ~ Gwynn Bray, 3rd-5th grade teacher, Walt Disney Elementary School, Alvin, TX (ACE teacher from the beginning, 2007-2021   2019 National ACE Sustained Excellence Awardee)  


    My students love doing the ACE program each year and really look forward to our "CAP Days."  They truly get so much out of seeing and being immersed in the practical application of the math and science concepts they have been learning through the year.  Thank you so much for providing this wonderful program! 

     ~Amy Kane Kranich, 2nd grade teacher, Kenwood Elementary School, Ft Walton Beach, FL    (ACE teacher, 2008-2021    2008 National ACE School of the Year)



What is the ACE (Aerospace Connections in Education) program?

The ACE program is an aerospace-themed program for educators in grades K-6 who are CAP Aerospace Education Members (AEMs) or Senior Members in CAP who are educators.  This program is designed for schools/teachers to implement during the school day; yet many programs are implemented in informal, structured after-school programs and in other organizations, such as museums, libraries, Boy and Girl Scouts, 4-H clubs, home schools, and other youth groups.  ACE provides engaging and meaningful cross-curricular aerospace-themed lessons that support STEM initiatives and enrich the school curricula.  Additionally, many lessons promote good character and physical fitness, which are components of CAP's Cadet Program.  Thus, the ACE program is a great introduction to CAP, especially for those youth who may be interested in learning more about General Aviation and possibly becoming members of CAP's Cadet Program for youth, ages 12-18.   

The ACE program will help foster good-natured and healthy citizens who will develop an interest in and appreciation for aerospace/STEM subjects and careers as our nation seeks to inspire the future aerospace/STEM workforce. 

What FREE materials do I receive if I participate in the ACE program?

  • An online curriculum guide of 22 aerospace-themed, national academic standards-driven lessons for your grade level(s).  Lessons are divided into three categories: academic (focusing on STREAM-G); character; and physical fitness for living a healthy and drug-free lifestyle. Read the descriptions of all ACE lessons; view now)

  • A classroom set of aerospace manipulative items that relate to at least two of the lessons for each grade level (see these items on page 2 of the ACE Info Flier)

  • A classroom set of student ACE program completion certificates to be presented at the end of the year (hopefully, you will invite the closest CAP squadron and/or AFA chapter to help present the certificates). 

  • An ACE teacher certificate noting successful ACE program completion.

What are the requirements if I participate in this program?

  • Have current membership in the Civil Air Patrol as an Aerospace Education Member (AEM ) or as a Senior Member in a squadron who is an educator.  

  • Be a teacher in any formal or informal school (home schools included) or youth organization setting.

  • Submit an online ACE registration form to participate in CAP's ACE program.  (Registration details are explained below.)

  • Teach a minimum of 10 of the 22 ACE lessons to your class any time during the school year.

    • Examples are: teach the ACE lessons once a week on a designated day; or during a special time-frame designated as ACE week or month; or, on special days when the regular schedule is "off" for any reason. 

  • Submit an easy online completion form at the end of your program (includes evaluation of the program).

    • Check out all items in the left menu bar for additional information and resources. 

How long does it take to teach each lesson?

The lessons are designed to be 30-45 minutes in length.  We encourage teachers to adapt the lessons as necessary for their unique schedules, resources, and level of students.  There are additional activity ideas provided for each lesson to enrich and extend each lesson for many additional lessons.  Thus, one lesson could be conducted for several class sessions.  

How do I evaluate my students?

Most lessons include student worksheets and/or assessment rubrics.  Lesson evaluation methods are listed in each lesson. 

  • A comprehensive pre- and post-test is included and is encouraged for use to determine increase of student knowledge through this program. (The pre-post test tells exactly which lessons to which the questions are aligned, so it would be beneficial to ensure those lessons are taught to make the growth data valid.)

May I invite others to teach some of the lessons in my class?

The lessons are intentionally written in an easy to understand, step-by-step format to help the teacher and any "guest" instructor.  We encourage teachers to invite parents, community leaders, as well as other employees of the school, such as the counselor, PE teacher, secretary, custodian, etc. to share a lesson with students.  We strongly encourage inviting local Civil Air Patrol squadron and/or Air Force Association (AFA) chapter representatives to teach one or more lessons in your classroom.  What a great way to involve parents and other community members in the educational system! 

What is the cost of this program?

Although the program is free to CAP members who are educators, teachers do supply their own lesson materials.  The ACE lessons, however, are designed to use free and/or inexpensive, easy to acquire materials, such as construction paper, glue, balloons, straws, etc.   Costs, therefore, are minimal.

If ACE shirts are desired, check out the ACE Shirt order page HERE!  For a very low cost, ACE shirts can be purchased. 

How do I register to participate in this program for the upcoming school year?

  1. First, make sure you qualify to participate and that you agree to the requirements.  The program is designed for elementary educators in grades K - 6 who will ensure at least 10 of the 22 ACE lessons are taught to their students during the school year.  (For details on program implementation, review the Teacher Implementation Guidelines. View now.) 

  2. Next, you must be a member of CAP in order to register to participate in the ACE program.  (If you are not currently a member, click here for CAP AEM membership information and to join online. Please note that as a new Aerospace Education Member of CAP,  you will be able to request other free K-12 aerospace/STEM education materials, but these are NOT the ACE program materials.)  * In the event your school wishes to become an entire ACE School (all of the teachers at your school wish to participate), please send an email prior to joining as an AEM to for further information on how to join using a school check.

  3. Educators who wish to participate in the ACE program should plan to register beginning August 1 each year using the online registration link in eServices. (Go to Aerospace Education; then, to ACE Registration.)  (If you are a member of CAP and have never set up your eServices account, go to and click the "first time user" link.) 

  4.  When you register for ACE, make sure you check the correct category for you- and that determines if you will enter number of student participants or someone else will at your school. This is an important aspect of registering.  

  5. If you have questions, please send an email to

What happens after I register?

  • You should receive an ACE registration confirmation email.  (If you do not, please email immediately.  If you do not have an ACE confirmation email, your registration was not completely submitted, and we do not have you listed as a registered participant.)

  • As a member of CAP, you have access to the online ACE curriculum guides located in the AE Downloads and Resources in our member portal, eServices.  You may go online to review or start using the curriculum at any time. (Just click on the ACE Kindergarten book and all grade levels will then appear.)

  • Follow the implementation guidelines provided in the ACE curriculum guide.

  • Your students' individual free manipulative materials will be shipped to you at your school address.

  • Consider having an ACE Lift-off event at your school and invite guests to speak, to conduct demonstrations, and to encourage the students to aim high in ACE!  Some schools have had helicopters land on their school field; had hot air balloons tethered at the school, or conducted a smaller tissue paper hot air balloon launch; invited the local Academy of Model Aeronautics chapter to do remote-control or drone demonstrations; or many other exciting aviation/space/or STEM activities for the students. 

  • Please consider sending pictures of students engaged in ACE activities that we may share in newsletters, articles, or other CAP AE publications.  Usable pictures with a brief explanation should be emailed to *** Ensure there is media permission on file at your school for student photo usage. 

  • Take photos of your ACE activities during the year so that in April, you can submit your class, your school, one of your students, or YOU for an ACE award!  Find out about ACE awards on the ACE teachers' page.

What happens after I complete the program?

  • The ACE program completion form link will be available in eServices from February 1 to June 15 each year.  It takes about 15-20 minutes to complete the online completion form.  Details are available on CAP's ACE teachers' page.  Your end-of-year ACE certificates will be mailed to you when your materials are mailed to you, so those will be ready for presentation when you complete the program for the year. 

  • If you desire to type in your students' names on the certificates, a student certificate template is found on CAP's ACE teachers' page

  • If you find you need more certificates for some reason, these can be printed from the CAP ACE teachers' page

  • Please invite a representative from your closest CAP squadron and/or AFA chapter to help present your ACE certificates to your students.  To find your closest CAP squadron, enter your ZIP code at the "Find you local squadron" link at To find your closest AFA chapter, enter your state HERE.

  • Please email if you have success stories you wish to share, such as improvements in test scores, or a story about how the ACE program impacted a student, your class, or even you, as a teacher.

  • It is beneficial if you try to garner media support for the extra activities you provide to your students.  If you get such media coverage at your ACE Lift-off event or end-of-program event, or any time during the year, please send us a link and any photos, etc. to

What happens if I do not complete the program?

Only educators who truly want to participate and are committed to completing the program should register to participate.

  • Due to the extensive amount of time, effort, and money that is invested to provide this program to educators, we encourage all ACE educators to complete the program, which involves completing 10 of the grade level lessons with the students before the end of the year.  We do understand if circumstances arise that prevent total completion of the program.  Anyone who does not complete the program is encouraged to maintain his/her membership in CAP and continue to use CAP AE products, as desired.  He/she may also consider registering to participate in CAP's AEX program, that has only six requirements for program completion, but does not have student materials as the ACE program does.

  • In the event you have an unexpected situation that prevents you from completing CAP's ACE program, please send an email as soon as possible to The ACE team will work with you!

ACE Program Testimonials:

  • Fantastic program that engaged my students in active learning, and a wonderful way to involve parents and the community in the school.  (6th grade teacher in Jacksonville, FL)

  • My 5th grade ACE students mentor a kindergarten ACE class.  (5th grade teacher in Yuma, AZ)

  • My students had the highest state science test scores in our county.  This validates how aerospace can and does cover state standards. (5th grade teacher Van Buren, OH)

  • The program is very well organized, easy to follow, and age appropriate. (2nd grade teacher in Thousand Oaks, CA)

  • The kids loved the lessons.  The program has been a great addition to our STEM curriculum.  (3rd grade teacher in Anthem, AZ)

  • It brought our school together with a common theme.  (principal in Fort Walton Beach, FL)

ACE Program Accolades:

  • The program continues to grow, reaching over 300,000 students since program inception in 2007, thanks to the Air Force Association (AFA) and CAP members' support. CAP and AFA members are helping conduct the ACE lessons and helping to coordinate speakers and field trips to enhance the ACE program, and this is helping the program's steady growth. 

  • Guest presenters (such as parents, CAP & AFA members, community leaders, aerospace industry workers, etc.) provide students with positive role models and create excellent parent and community involvement opportunities.  It is encouraged that you invite guest speakers and lesson presenters to make this program an awesome opportunity for mentorship and career exploration information for your students.

  • The ACE curriculum has been adopted for use by other organizations working with youth, such as AFA chapters, aerospace museums, libraries, after-school programs, youth organizations, DoD STARBASE, and college AFROTC Arnold Air Society and Silver Wings teams, to develop an interest in and appreciation form STEM subjects and careers, thus inspiring the future aerospace workforce and future aviation enthusiasts.  CAP adults and cadets are becoming great supporters of and mentors to the ACE classrooms!

  • Several participants have reported a positive impact on standardized science test scores, such as a 27% increase in 5th grade science thinking scores.

  • About 90% of educators who register to participate in CAP's ACE program complete the program.

  • Of educators who complete CAP's ACE program, about 97% intend to participate again.

  • Program evaluation reveals that 96% of ACE educators agree that the ACE lessons fit well, overall, with the standards, concepts, and skills they are required to teach.

  • Students involved in the ACE pre/post tests earn an average increase of 54% improvement in aerospace knowledge.

  • Check out more ACE Accolades HERE!

CAP greatly appreciates organizations and companies who have helped support and sponsor the ACE Program at the school level! 

CAP especially appreciates the Air & Space Forces Association for sponsoring ACE annual awards and t-shirts!

Please send an email inquiry to if you have any questions.

More historical info:

2022-2023 Info:

2021-2022 Info:

2020-2021 Info:

  • Even with COVID challenges, AY20 ended strong with 61,571 students; 977 teachers; 435 schools in 46 states; and 1 DoD school. See page and video of ACE Breaking Records! 

  • 2020-2021 ACE Schools listed by state HERE!

  • See 2021 National ACE Award Winners HERE!

  • 2020-2021 National ACE Lift-off video HERE!  (Silver Sands School, Ft Walton Beach, FL)

  • 2020-2021 National ACE Lift-off CAP.NEWS article HERE!

2019-2020 Info:



  • See 2018 National ACE Award Winners HERE!

  • 39,225 ACE students participated. 


  • See 2017 National ACE Award Winners HERE!

  • 27,369 ACE students participated. 

  • See "ACE High" CAP article explaining 9 years of the program. 



  • See 2015 National ACE Awards HERE!

  • See 2015 National ACE Teacher Award Article HERE

  • 14,633 ACE students participated. 


  • See 2014 National ACE Awards HERE!

  • 16,148 ACE students participate. 


  • See 2013 National ACE Awards HERE!

  • 19, 267 ACE students participate. 


  • See 2012 National ACE Awards HERE!

  • 17,849 ACE students participate. 


  • 10.621 ACE students participated. 


  • 6,120 ACE students participated. 


  • First year as the Aerospace Connections in Education (ACE) program with 5.998 students. 


  • Started the program as CAP Jr Cadet Program with 4,500 ACE students. 
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