Missouri Military Academy to Enhance Army JROTC Program with Pilot STEAM Program 

Personal development at Missouri Military Academy (MMA) stems from a philosophy that emphasizes holistic training through character development and the instilling of values and skills that will serve as a guidepost throughout life.  

MMA takes pride in ranking among the top 10 percent of Army JROTC units in the nation, and continuous improvement for current and future cadets is always on our agenda. For that reason, MMA was selected to receive over $15,000 worth of materials from the U.S. Army to help achieve our strategic plan goal of enhancing JROTC and STEAM programs by adding a pilot program to the curriculum as early as fall 2021. 

The pilot program, similar to a the automations and robotics course already offered to middle school cadets, will offer an advanced version of robotics lessons to the JROTC curriculum for MMA high school cadets.  

Using VEX V5 competition super kits, V5 classroom starter kits and V5 competition starter kits, cadets will build robots with specific functions and abilities. As they advance in the course, they will have the option to construct their own style of robot, allowing them to practice the engineering design, invention and construction processes. They will learn to work within constraints and as a team to identify solutions and find the best possible result through iteration.  

After some training, cadets can choose to compete against other schools in VEX competitions. Standard competitions include tasks such as building the most functional robot that can move objects a certain distance or move the greatest number of objects in the least amount of time. In addition to offering awards, VEX competitions can include scholarship opportunities, as well.   

The greatest benefit of the pilot program is in teaching cadets valuable engineering, computational, analytical and problem-solving skills. It is also an excellent opportunity to hone their communication and leadership skills, as cadets will have to describe their ideas and provide verbal instructions to bring their ideas to life.  

 “These types of kits and exercises will serve as an engaging, interesting conduit for boys to be analytical and creative,” said MMA Army JROTC Instructor Captain Joseph Balvanz. “It will benefit them as a team building and problem-solving exercise.”   

Additionally, because technology and robotics are increasingly prevalent in the military, businesses, education, medical fields and more, cadets will be better predisposed to handle complicated technologies in their future careers.  

For more information about VEX kits, click here. For more information about MMA’s JROTC curriculum, click here. To learn how you can support MMA’s JROTC and STEAM programs, contact Director of Parent and Alumni Engagement Cassandra Brooks at cassandra.brooks@missourimilitaryacademy.com.  

 

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