Fledgling Students at the Academy of Aerospace and Engineering

Today was the second day of school at the Academy of Aerospace and Engineering at John Wallace Middle School, and we have already started “flying.” Students learned about aircraft identification this morning, researched an aircraft of their choice, then learned the basics of flight simulator operations. We had fun trying to fly! As time goes on, these students have the chance to become proficient, not only at the skills involved in flying, but also in the life skills of problem solving, working in teams, communicating, and continuously learning. The following photos show the student “crews” (groups of 4 students) trying their hand at the HotSeat Chassis Edustation flight simulators:




School Starts Tomorrow! Here’s Some Information…

Makerbot Replicator 3D Printers
Makerbot Replicator 3D Printers

School starts tomorrow (August 26) at the Academy of Aerospace and Engineering at John Wallace Middle School. We are ready for students and can’t wait to start the school year inaugurating our new program. This week, I finished setting up two new Makerbot Replicator 5th Generation 3D printers–students will be able to print from their laptops using two free computer-aided design (CAD) programs, Sketchup or TinkerCad, that I will teach them.

Mr. Gilbert of GDJ, Inc. with Wind Tunnel
Mr. Gilbert of GDJ, Inc. with Wind Tunnel

I also accepted delivery of our wind tunnel from Mr. Jack Gilbert, president of GDJ, Inc., and a former educator, engineer, and collaborator with NASA in aerospace education. His Flotek 250 wind tunnel is a beautiful piece of equipment which offers many different experiments with wind speed and aerodynamics.

As students come in tomorrow, they will be organized in “crews,” student groups modeled on a NASA space crew. Each crew member will have specific duties, depending on their activity. For the first few weeks of school, up through September 16th, students will be learning about all the aspects of the Academy program. Then on September 16th, we will host an induction ceremony from 5:00 to 6:00PM with food at the Academy classroom one hour prior to the Wallace school open house–students and their families are invited.

For parents, here are a few administrative notes as the year begins.

  • PowerSchool is the best source to see upcoming assignments and grades. I will post grades within one week of an assignment, usually updating all grades each weekend. I will update more frequently at the end of the term or after a major assignment. You will also be able to go to one location on the Wallace school website and see all of your son’s/daughter’s homework assignments–stand by for more information on that.
  • I will be using Google Classroom to assign as much work as possible to students, but when that is not appropriate, I may assign work using a different computer platform, or even on old fashioned paper. The goal is to use Google Classroom whenever feasible.
  • Students should bring in their summer work, especially math, and be prepared to ask questions tomorrow. I will give them one more day, till August 27th, before I collect it and grade it, though they may turn it in early. Several students told me they had trouble doing the Algebra I problems in IXL.com–that’s okay, as you have not had Algebra I yet, so these were just a warmup–don’t be concerned with your score.
  • **IMPORTANT** I am sending home a letter tomorrow explaining that parents and students are required to attend a laptop orientation session in order to receive and take home a Lenovo laptop that all Academy students will get issued. This orientation will take place on Wednesday, September 2nd at 6 pm in the Martin Kellogg Middle School Auditorium. At this meeting, you will also receive the NPS 1-1 Technology Initiative Procedures (click to read) with consent forms and an optional laptop insurance application (click to read). We will review these documents in detail at the orientation on September 2nd.

As always, contact me with any questions. I am looking forward to a great school year with an outstanding group of students!

Learning about the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA)

chapter27Today I attended a monthly meeting of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Chapter 27 at Meriden-Markham Airport in Meriden, Connecticut. The EAA started out in 1953 as a flying club for people who built and flew their own airplanes, but it has evolved into a more diverse group of aviation enthusiasts. They have become famous for their sponsorship of the world-renowned yearly fly-in, the EAA AirVenture at Osh Kosh, Wisconsin attracting thousands of aircraft and hundreds of thousands spectators and participants. The EAA’s mission is “To grow participation in aviation by promoting the ‘Spirit of Aviation,'” while their vision is “A vibrant and growing aviation community.” To carry out this mission and vision, EAA sponsors some youth activities, which is my focus as the teacher in the Academy of Aerospace and Engineering.

EAA Chapter 27 Young Eagles orientation flight

One of the main EAA youth programs is Young Eagles where EAA pilots spend a day giving free orientation flights in their aircraft to children ages 8 to 17. The purpose is to trigger an interest in aviation that young people will carry forward in life. So far, the EAA has given about 2 million orientation flights to children nationwide since the start of Young Eagles in 1992. The next Young Eagles day for EAA Chapter 27 is Saturday, October 10th, 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM, at Meriden-Markham Airport. Click HERE for more information and any updates on this event, as well as the point of contact.

The EAA is a great organization for anyone interested in aviation, regardless of whether you are a pilot or own an aircraft. For more information on the local opportunities, contact EAA Chapter 27’s President, Bob Spaulding. For my students, Bob will speak at the Academy of Aerospace and Engineering on September 18th and have information about the next Young Eagles event on October 10th. We look forward to learning more about this great aviation organization.