The Education Center at the Museum of Aviation

Did you know that the Museum of Aviation Foundation, Inc. operates the Education Center at the Museum of Aviation?  The Education Center operates 5 major programs, and serves an average of 50,000 students and teachers a year through its hands-on STEM and History focused programs.  Field trips, STEM Labs, Summer Camps, and other educational special events are held throughout the year for participants as young as 4 years old.

The Aviation Heritage Center is home to the Museum’s Guided Tour programs as well as birthday parties, scouts programs, and special history programs like the WWII Outreach program and the GA Studies Tour.  Each year, Ms. James, the history program coordinator, makes a special visit to local retirement centers to spend time with veterans and coordinates many veteran focused tours at the Museum.

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The National STEM Academy operates STEM focused programs for schools and individuals throughout the year.  Programs are offered to Pre K – 12th grade students and vary per theme and grade level.  Computer classes, the Mission Quest Flight Simulation program, ACE, and specialized STEM summer camps are just a few of the offerings each year.  All classes feature hands-on activities for students and promote workforce development opportunities in STEM careers.  Sponsorship and volunteer opportunities are always available.

Offering something for everyone is what the Education Center strives for.  With the STEM Training Academy for Teachers (STAT), the Education Center completes the circle, offering classes for adults and educators as well as internship opportunities for college students.  It’s home to Georgia’s NASA Regional Educator Resource Center that holds monthly professional development workshops and offers free resources to teachers for use in their classrooms.

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Rounding out the five programs are STARBASE Robins and GYSTC.  STARBASE Robins is part of the premiere Department of Defense STARBASE STEM Program.  The program engages students through its inquiry-based curriculum with its “hands-on, mind-on” experiential activities. The goal is to motivate students to explore Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) as they continue their education.  During each student’s 25 hours of instruction, they are introduced to many STEM concepts and skills as well as 3D modeling and 3D printing.  STARBASE ROBINS programs include its signature fifth grade program as well as its STARBASE 2.0 Afterschool STEM Mentoring Program, summer academies and robotics tournaments.

GYSTC or Georgia Youth Science and Technology Center is available for K – 8th grade students and teachers. Student outreach programs and teacher professional development programs at member elementary and middle school sites are offered.  GYSTC partners with the Georgia Department of Education, business/industry leaders and local member schools to feature Family Science Nights, the STARLAB portable planetarium, teacher training workshops and student workshops.

With so much to offer the Middle GA community, it’s impossible to cover it all in one article, but we have tried to give you a synopsis of what you can expect from the Museum of Aviation’s Education Center.  Visit their website anytime to get detailed information on the different field trips and programs that they offer and check out the Summer Camp classes coming up while you’re there!

Guest Blog: Benefits of Teaching Kids To Code That No One Is Talking About

Written By: Michael Rosario, Inspired to Educate

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“In previous blog posts, we have discussed the necessity to encourage science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) especially in the United States. As our culture has become increasingly digital, we have coined this term of “digital natives” to describe the current generation of kids who grow up playing with IPads, cell phones and computers.

In conversations I have had with advocates of STEM education, some believe it’s important to get kids interested in learning about STEM topics before the 4th of 5th grade. Why? Around middle school, children start to form opinions about what is “cool” or “not cool.” Most kids put things like math, science and computer science into the “un-cool” category.

Mitch Resnick of the MIT media lab and his team of researchers have taken up the challenge of teaching kids to become fluent with technology. While we commonly call kids “digital natives,” Mitch challenges us to take students to the next level. Students should not be passive consumers of knowledge and entertainment. In Mr. Resnick’s view, digital natives should have the ability to make and create technology. In an increasingly digital world, he suggests that students should develop a basic fluency in computer programming and gain a sense of how software works.

I really admire the work he and his team have done on Scratch, a computer programming environment created for kids. It’s designed to be very fun and interactive. Using Scratch, students can create very dynamic interactive experiences and games by simply connecting puzzle pieces together. Many of these student experiences are not trivial to code using traditional programming tools. In the following TED talk, Mr. Resnick describes his passion for teaching kids to appreciate computer programming and how Scratch works.

 

I really appreciate that Scratch helps kids to have fun with math. Without a doubt, tools like Scratch are encouraging students to become creative. Creativity is such a precious skill that we need to promote to our students. With tools like Scratch, students are getting a fun introduction to design thinking and systems thinking.
Things don’t always work out well when you’re programming in Scratch or any other programming environment. You have to learn how to work through bugs and imperfections. Mr. Resnick suggests that students who use Scratch learn a sense of persistence. Since students engaged in getting their game or their creative project working, they naturally start asking questions, find answers, and learn to work through problems.

I love Mr. Resnick’s closing idea. Teaching kids to code is not about programming itself. It’s about promoting creativity, curiosity, teaching persistence, and giving young people a sense of how they can create technology. All of these fluencies are needed in our rapidly changing world.

Related Links:

Please visit the following links to learn more about Mitch Resnick and his research.   I have also included other links related to teaching computer programming to kids and teens.

“Inventors Workshop” series at the Museum of Aviation

In 2017, Check out the “Inventors Workshop” series at the Museum of Aviation.  We’ve designed these workshops to introduce young makers to engineering and tinkering with code, digital fabrication, and robotics.   Through making and tinkering, participants will learn S.T.E.A.M. (science, technology, engineering, art and math) skills using their hands, grow their creativity and become more curious about their world and test the limits of what is possible.

Learn more here.

A big thank you to Michael Rosario for this wonderful and educating blog.  To learn more about our Guest Blogger, Michael Rosario, you can visit his website here.

To view all upcoming events and workshops at the Museum of Aviation, click here!

2016 GA STEM Teacher of the Year

Congratulations

2016 STEM Teachers of the Year! 

Stacy Brown of Northside Elementary School in Houston County has been voted the Museum of Aviation 2016 GA STEM Teacher of the Year for Elementary School!

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Brian Soash of Lee County Middle School West Campus in Lee County has been voted the Museum of Aviation 2016 GA STEM Teacher of the Year for Middle School!

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A huge congratulations are in order for both of these wonderful teachers who have exemplified STEM learning in the classroom!  

Each winning teacher will receive a $1000 cash prize for themselves and a $1000 cash prize for their schools.  Ms. Brown and Mr. Soash will be recognized and presented their awards today during the Museum of Aviation’s GA NASA STEM Day Conference for Educators, hosted by the Museum’s own GA NASA Regional Educator Resource Center.

A very special thanks goes out to our amazing sponsors for making it possible for us to recognize teachers and educators who are prioritizing STEM learning.

More information and details about our Educator programs can be found on our website.

Where are you now?

The Museum of Aviation has seen thousands of students through the years during field trips, camps and workshops.  Our Education Center serves an average of 50,000 students each year.  We’d like to catch up with some of these students and hear their stories!

Were you one of those students? 

What is your career now? 

Did the Museum have an impact on your career choice?

If you were one of the many students who have participated in our Education Programs over the years, please email us and tell us your story.  We would like to feature you on a special blog article for our website, social media and more!  

Submit your story, and a photo if you’d like, to Valerie Myers in our Education Center at vgill@museumofaviation.org, between now and September 30, 2016.  

A huge THANK YOU goes out from us here at the Museum to all of you for your support through the years.  We look forward to catching up with you and hearing about your wonderful life!

 

Thank you for a Great Summer!!!

Each year the Museum of Aviation Foundation, Education Center hosts 6 weeks of hands-on, STEM summer camps.  This past year was one of our best yet!  The classes were full, the students were having a blast, STEM mentors from the community joined us, and all of the wonderful and amazing people voted us Best of the Best Summer Camps in Middle GA for the second year in a row!

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We can not say thank you enough for your awesome support of our programs.  We have great instructors and the most dedicated volunteers that all work together to give our students the best experiences possible.

Wonderful career mentors from the community take time from their days to spend with us and our students to offer real world applications.  

It’s because of you, all of our supporters, that we are here and able to continue providing quality educational programs for everyone.

Thank you all again so very much!  We look forward to seeing all the smiling faces back again next summer as well!

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Upcoming Museum & Education Special Events!!!

Education Events Registering Now:  

Pre K – 12th Grade Homeschool Workshops &

Pre K – 12th Grade STEM Labs

Auction Raffle Tickets are on sale!  See below for information!

July 23rd:  31st Annual Auction, Raffle, & Taste of Local Cuisine

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See below for a few of our Auction items.

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July 30:  Blackbird Day

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August 8th:  Monthly Homeschool Workshops Begin – Registering Now!!

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September 15th-16th:  Georgia Invitational Golf Tournament

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October 12th-14th: GA Kids’ STEM CampRegistering Now!

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