Jefferson, Washington Students Learn About Flight Dynamics

Energy, force, lift, drag, thrust, stability, aspect ratio, aeronautics design and flight simulation are all terms Jefferson and Washington Afterschool Program students are now experts in, thanks to the exhilarating Fly to Learn program.

Introduced to Jamestown Public Schools by Edward Martiny, curator of the Lucille M. Wright Air Museum, Fly to Learn was sponsored by Time Warner Cable’s Connect A Million Minds Grant.

Fly To Learn is an inquiry-based curriculum that aligns with national STEM standards incorporating student handouts, engaging presentation software and online educator training. The curriculum consists of 10 tutorials; six are science-based, with learning focused on the physical properties governing flight. The remaining four lessons invite students to design their own plane or change some physical aspect of an existing aircraft to see what effect the engineering change has on flying, while continually testing their inventions and innovations via simulated flight.

“I want to be a pilot when I grow up,” said Jefferson fifth-grader Benjamin D’Angelo. “I thought doing this program after school would be really fun and good for me. I love being able to fly a simulated plane. It is so cool.”

Afterschool program site coordinators Shane Monroe and Erin Lindblad hosted the 10-week experience that was taught by retired JPS science teacher, Richard Stineman. Approximately 27 students completed the program.

Lucille M. Wright Air Museum Curator Edward Martiny, a former Naval aviator and United Airlines pilot said, “When I was introduced to the Fly to Learn curriculum, I thought the love of flying would motivate students in STEM education. Tom Dubick, curriculum author and founder of FTL, graciously provided a no-cost pilot program for Jamestown After School. The Lucille M. Wright Air Museum is the liaison between FTL and the schools, providing consultation and a venue for the students to fly during non-school hours. Fly to Learn and the air museum are pleased with the success of the project, the interest and work of the students and the quality of Richard Stineman’s instruction and dedication to a new frontier. We also commend Jefferson After School Coordinator Shane Monroe and Washington After School Coordinator Erin Lindblad’s innovative spirit for the program and a special thanks to Science and Technology Coordinator Dave Currie.”

“For me to witness excited students eagerly engaged behind a computer-controlled simulator of any number of available aircraft, from a single engine Cessna to the space shuttle is an endorsement of this software,” said Stineman. “At our last session, I watched students stay beyond the end of class to alter the design of their aircraft. This is what learning is all about.”