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Workshop Spotlight: MƒA Teachers Soar in Aviation Ground School

Workshop Spotlight | February 29, 2016

“Aviation Ground School,” a three-session MƒA mini-course held at the New York City Center for Space Science Education, gave MƒA teachers the opportunity to immerse themselves in all things aviation. The course was facilitated by Director of the NYC Center for Space Science Education Katherine Brown and José Vaz, an aircraft maintenance technology teacher and US Marine reservist. 

The course began with teachers participating in an in-depth discussion of aviation topics, including structural components and control surfaces of airplanes, the four forces of flight, and the composite materials used to make airplanes. Then MƒA teachers had the opportunity to take their study of aeronautics into their own hands – literally. Teachers continued their exploration of aviation with a hands-on approach, building model airplanes, trying their piloting skills using a flight simulator, testing within the constraints of a wind tunnel in the aeronautics lab, and using specialized software to understand how airplanes fly.

MƒA Master Teacher Ashraya Gupta reflected on the course: “The mini-course, in many ways, placed me in the position of my students: I was confronted by entirely new content, attempting to understand it within my preexisting framework,” she said. “This course helped me think about how I can help my students bridge the divide between scientific theory and real data. I’m now looking forward to planning aviation content for my math and science course for freshmen.”

The physics-focused workshop attracted not only physics teachers, but also brought together MƒA teachers whose subject areas include biology, chemistry, earth science, general science, mathematics, and elementary science. This collaboration across STEM content areas, a hallmark of MƒA’s community and professional growth offerings, enabled MƒA teachers to adapt and incorporate the same topic to different fields of study.