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!

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

Written By: Michael Rosario, Inspired to Educate

Scratch - Teaching kids to code

“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!

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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The Museum of Aviation Foundation Needs Your Help!

Museum of Aviation Foundation Wish Lists!

The Museum of Aviation Foundation is a nonprofit organization that supports the Museum of Aviation and provides education programs to visitors and schools.  As a nonprofit, we are always in need of volunteers and in-kind donations.  

If you are interested in helping, you can learn more about how you can help the Museum of Aviation Foundation below or by clicking here.

Wishlist

Education Wish List: 

  • On July 25, 2016, the Education Center began demolition on our 3rd-5th grade, ACE classroom!  We are looking for donors and sponsors to help with the new renovations and updates.  We will need new tables, funding for upgrading the lighting and the walls, manual labor, and a few other things.  If you are interested in helping, please contact Valerie Myers in the Education Center.  
  • General Supplies for all classes and workshops: *Items in bold are in high demand
    • Legal Pads
    • Copy Paper
    • HP61 Ink & HP128 Toner
    • Pens & Pencils
    • Washable Markers
    • Binder Clips (All sizes)
    • Used ink cartridges (not toner) for our recycling program
    • Sponsors for our Educator Resource Kits for STEM support throughout our community
      • The kits will be free for educators and community mentors to check out for use in the classroom and during any STEM event!  Sponsors will have their name and logo proudly displayed on each kit!
    • Sponsors for our Digital Displays to help us cut back on paper!
      • Email Valerie Myers for a complete wish list: vgill@museumofaviation.org

Volunteer Opportunities:

The Museum of Aviation is looking for individuals who would like to spend four hours each week working as a volunteer in the exciting atmosphere of U.S. Air Force Aviation History.

Each exhibit building has a visitor desk where volunteers welcome and greet the visitors in the Museum. The volunteers are there to assist visitors any way necessary. They also walk the floors of the Museum while visitors are present to help keep an eye on exhibits and see to the needs of the visitors.

Volunteer shifts that are needed:

  • Saturday mornings (9:00 am – 1:00 pm)
  • Sunday mornings (9:00 am – 1:00 pm)
  • Tuesday afternoons (1:00 – 5:00 pm)
  • Thursday afternoons (1:00 – 5:00 pm)

For more information contact Dan Hart, Volunteer Program Administrator at 926-4242 or email dan.hart@museumofaviation.org.

B-17 Wish List:

We Currently Need Funding For:

De-paint                     Cradle for     

$2,500                     Restoration                                  $1,500

 

Oxygen Tanks        Exterior Lights

$150 each                $50 each

Contact Christin McFarland at

c.mcfarland@museumofaviation.org

for all B-17 Donations.

MathAlive!, Summer Camps, and More!

The Museum of Aviation is always bustling and busy with visitors, students from all over the state, and guests who come for special events.  This summer, however, is proving to be an exceptionally busy one for the museum.  In addition to the new Food Truck Fridays bringing in all sorts of yumminess for lunch each week and our many private events, the education center and our own special events are filling up the hot, humid days!

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May 21st was the opening day for the MathAlive! travelling exhibit, presented by Raytheon, and visitors from all over Georgia have expressed their excitement and enthusiasm by visiting the hands-on, interactive exhibit.  The exhibit will be at the Museum until July 4th in the Century of Flight hangar.

 

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June 6th was the first official day of summer camps for the National STEM Academy at the Museum; however, STARBASE ROBINS and GEAR UP Bibb County began camps a week earlier.  Over 1500 Pre K – 12th grade students will participate in fun, hands-on, STEM based activities throughout the seven different weeks camps are in session at the museum this summer.  

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Over 1000 visitors are already on the calendar for June and July to be treated to a guided tour by the Museum’s awesome tour guides, led by Ms. James from the Aviation Heritage Center.  Included with a guided tour is the chance to go inside of a C-130 airplane that is not open to the general public.

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The SCOTTCON 2016: Model Aircraft Contest took place Saturday, June 11, bringing in some of the best scale modelers in the southeast. 

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And the summer will round out and finish up with the annual Auction, Raffle and Taste of Local Cuisine, benefiting the Museum of Aviation Foundation, held on July 23rd.  Raffle tickets are on sale now and can be purchased online here.  Sponsors are also needed for this wonderful event and you can contact Christin McFarland for more information.

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Wow! So much is happening right here at the Museum of Aviation in such a short period of time!  Stop by anytime to see what we’ve got going on.  There’s always fresh coffee in Jet Fuel Java and Aviation Gift shop!

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2016 SkyScapes Poster Contest Winners

1st place
Kathy Hart from the Centerville Rotary Club presents prizes to the 1st Place Winner, Audrey Westray.

The Museum of Aviation Foundation honored 5 middle school students March 17, 2016 as winners in the 2016 Skyscapes Poster Contest.

The winners were:
1st Place          Audrey Westray

2nd Place          Ada Bergstrom

3rd Place           Alyssa Bonifacia

4th Place           Hunter Brandt

5th Place           Dan Tran

Each student received a certificate and prize.  Audrey Westray, 1st place winner, won a bicycle from Applebee’s.

A total of 91 entries were received from 6th-8th grade students at three schools: Evans Middle, Homeschool Students, and Huntington Middle School.  Students had to submit a drawing on 12” x 18” construction paper on the theme of “There are Drones Among Us.”  Each drawing was judged on artistic talent and creativeness in representing the theme.  The five winning posters will be displayed in the Museum of Aviation Century of Flight Hangar for the next twelve months.

The local volunteer judges were:  Kirk Scott, The Colony Bank; Kathy Hart, Centerville Rotary Club; Laurie Bremner and Patricia Williams of The Robins Officers’ Spouse’ Club;

The contest sponsors were:  The Robins Air Force Base Officers’ Spouse’ Club, The Centerville Rotary Club, Applebee’s and the Museum of Aviation Foundation.

 

A High School Senior’s Perspective

Note from curator Mike Rowland: Ross Schumacher, who recently graduated from Veterans High School, came to the museum during the spring semester as part of the “Professional Interest Exploration” program. I asked Ross to share some thoughts about his experience at the museum. Here’s what he wrote:

As a Veterans High School student, soon to be entering college, I elected to take a Humanities course, to see how my last eleven years of history, literature, and art classes tied into the human experience. Part of this class was to begin my real world experience in my future career field. As I plan to be a history major in college, I thought of no better place to get this experience then a museum close to home, the Museum of Aviation.

Since my first day of work at the museum I have had many experiences that many others would not have just visiting. I began with essentially a speed run of the museum, having to visit every hangar in a little less than two hours, during which I had to give my impressions of the best and worst exhibits, which was difficult most because most of the exhibits are so good. From the experience from the WWII paratrooper exhibit in Hangar 3 to the new information to be gained in the Eagle Building, I saw it as a museum to be proud of in my town.

As for the actual work I have done for the museum, I’ve helped with several jobs in the museum, especially in the Heritage Building which is now Collections, holding all items the museum doesn’t have on display. I’ve seen bombs, goggles, unit patches, personal items, and weaponry, used and experimental. I’ve done inventory in the Heritage Building, on a computer sorting processed items from unprocessed ones, and climbed through a warehouse in restoration looking for weapons systems for a new exhibit. Other days I’ve done other jobs, such as helping the Curator measure spaces for the new exhibit. Some days were more exciting than others, as many days I just did filing or moved folders from one cabinet to another, one day I simply observed as a the B-29 Superfortress was raised in the WWII Hangar.

Since my school year is ending and with it my experiences at the museum, I was asked to write a blog post detailing my experiences here. Honestly, I’ve hardly scratched the surface of the experiences possible at the museum. Warner Robins is gifted with a free admission museum that has a large collection and a staff that makes the most of their resources. Many of my classmates may have not seen the value of this job experience program, but I can gladly say I have gained experience that will translate into my future career.

Ross Schumacher

Learning takes flight at the Museum of Aviation

According to the Merriam Webster online dictionary, a museum is “an institution devoted to the procurement, care, study, and display of objects of lasting interest or value.” I disagree. The Museum of Aviation is more than that. It is a place where people of all ages come to learn. This summer, the museum Education Department has been hosting week-long camps for students from pre-k to high school seniors. “Lost in Space,” “Pirate Camp,” “Dinosaur Detectives,” “Mad Scientist’s Chem Lab,” and “Grossology” are just a few of the camps being held where students can learn more about the world around them.

I, sadly, exceeded the age limit on all of these classes, but, as the intern, I was fortunate enough to help out with the “Grossology” camp. I helped students make “snot” out of glue, Borax, food coloring, and a little bit of water. I also watched them learn the technical terms for sneezing, hiccups, smelly breath, and much, much more. I also snuck into the “Around the World” camp and helped students make their own version of Mexican yarn art.

Of course, students aren’t the only ones learning here at The Museum of Aviation. On the 19th and 20th of June, the museum partnered with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Georgia Center of Innovation for Aerospace, and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Georgia, and hosted the “Aerospace STEM institute for Career, Technical and Agricultural Education (CTAE)” for 9th through 12th grade science and math teachers. Teachers were able to interact with other teachers and aerospace industry professionals to develop more activities to be used in the classroom. Teachers also got the chance to receive an orientation flight at the Macon Regional Airport.

Check out the pictures below to see what I’ve seen during these past few weeks at The Museum of Aviation in the Century of Flight hanger.

Making “snot” at grossology camp.
Making Mexican yarn art for Around the World camp.
Teachers at the Aerospace STEM institute for CTAE plan a mission together that they will fly in the Mission Quest flight simulators.
Teachers at the Aerospace STEM institute for CTAE fly in the Mission Quest flight simulators.

Hillary Strickland, Marketing Intern

An Explosive PIE

C-4 explosion at an EOD demonstration day.

“PIE.” Professional Interest Exploration. That’s what Northside High School seniors Wesley Paskett, Jaikel “Jay” Robinson, and Keynan Callum are doing at the museum this semester. PIE is part of their Humanities course, and these three students asked to come to the museum to get a behind-the-scenes look at what museum professionals do. Truth be known, watching museum people work can be pretty boring. Much better to actually do some of what we do, right? Like an exhibit?

That’s where the explosive part comes in. We asked the students to do their exhibit on Explosive Ordnance Disposal, or “EOD.” EOD specialists have played a crucial role in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Below is an Air Force video that gives an overview.

Disposing of an explosive—blowing it up in a controlled fashion—is highly technical work and EOD specialists are superbly trained to do it safely. However, it is dangerous and EOD specialists risk their lives to protect lives and property. They are remarkable people and we feel a need to help tell the EOD story.

Jay and Wesley actually started researching EOD last fall, and Keynan joined the team a few weeks ago. They are working under the direction of Assistant Curator Arthur Sullivan, with assistance from Museum Collections Manager Bill Paul. Arthur and Bill also worked closely with PIE student curators Justin Yun and Chris Matthews last year on their exhibit about the F-15 Eagle in Desert Storm (see “Eagles at the Museum” and “Eagles in the Storm Exhibit”).

Left to right: Arthur, Jay, and Wesley examine a block of C-4 during an EOD demonstration last fall.

We’re also very fortunate to have terrific support from the Georgia Air National Guard’s 116th Air Control Wing EOD Flight. SMSgt John Bell has taken time from his busy schedule to meet with the students and give them an inside look at what EOD specialists do and the equipment they use.

Jay has just detonated an explosion during the demonstration last fall.

I’m excited about the EOD exhibit and during the next few months we’ll provide frequent updates on how Keynan, Wesley, and Jay are progressing.

– Mike Rowland, Curator