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!

The SR-71

By: Michael Cashman

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On July 30th 2016, the Museum of Aviation celebrated “Blackbird Day”.  14 former aircrew and maintenance members were made available to the general public for an exciting tell-all-facts celebration.  As a flight sim instructor, I was thrilled to have retired LtCol George Morgan sit in the cockpit of one of my simulators and fly an SR-71 again.  He had broken the world speed record, 2193.167 mph, 40 years earlier.

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When you first see a Blackbird, you realize its size.  It’s big, it’s really big.  What’s really amazing is this behemoth airframe only carries two crew members.  It carries no bombs, missiles or guns.  Therefore, nearly the entire airframe serves as a giant fuel tank for the two thirsty Pratt and Whitney J58 engines.   Each engine produced 32,500 lbs of thrust.  That’s about 10,000lbs of thrust more than the total thrust produced by the Apollo Command Module.

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The first Blackbird prototype flew in 1962 and the last flight was in 1999.  In those 37 years, this aircraft has strengthened our national intelligence gathering and inspired current and future engineers, pilots and operators to push the envelope of what manned flight is capable of.  If Lockheed Skunk Works was capable of building a Mach 3 aircraft with ‘50s technology, then what capabilities should we have for today or the future?

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You can read more about the SR-71 and other Blackbird variants: http://museumofaviation.org/moaMain/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/SR71-Educator-Guide.pdf

Growing Up With a B-17 Base in England

By Elizabeth Skinner

My late father, David Woolnough, grew up in the county of Suffolk, England, on a farm. When Great Britain declared war on Germany in 1939 he was just seven years old and ten when the Americans arrived. The following is some history of the airfield and some of the childhood memories he had of growing up during the war with the arrival of the Americans and the B-17 Flying Fortress. Suffolk had seen nothing like it before!

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David Woolnough when he was 11 years old. (Source: Elizabeth Skinner)

My father’s uncles both had large farms in a village called Parham next to where Dad lived as a boy. A “Class A” airfield was built on their land. Rubble was imported from the bomb sites of London and Birmingham to create a hardcore base for the tons of concrete that were poured. Two huge hangars were erected, and in 1944 Glenn Miller and his band performed in one of them. The airfield was built in a very short time and Dad remembers many lorries going past his farm carrying materials.

When the airfield was completed in the summer of 1943 it was handed over to the United States Eighth Air Force. It was known as Framlingham Station 153.

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Map showing the location of RAF Framlingham within Suffolk. (Source: Wikipedia)

The first bombardment group stationed at Framlingham, the 95th, flew B-17 Flying Fortress bombers and suffered awful losses during daylight attacks. They were eventually transferred to Horam, also in Suffolk. In July 1943 they were replaced by the 390th Bombardment Group that also operated B-17s. The 390th flew from Parham for the remainder of the War in Europe. They flew over 300 missions, dropped 19,000 tons of bombs, and lost 181 aircraft. 714 airmen were lost.

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B-17s of the 390th Bomb Group. (Source: 390th Memorial Museum)
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The 390th Bomb Group’s control tower at Framlingham, Suffolk, England (Station 153) on May 22, 1944. (Source: Wikipedia)

The Americans’ arrival to the village caused huge excitement for my Dad and his friends. Suddenly after years of rationing he was able to get gum and candy. He would tell me stories of how he used to stand by the airfield fence and hope that an airman would be nice enough to throw some over to him. When he needed to get to the nearby village they would have to get a special pass to go through the airfield. The base had been built around the road.

Some of his most vivid memories were of when the B-17s would leave for the raids on Germany. He would stand outside and count the bombers as they left, and then on their  return would count to see how many made it back. On one occasion a returning battered bomber didn’t quite make it back and crashed into a nearby field. The crew bailed out but Dad never knew how many, if any, survived. He and his friends searched the wreckage for bits of shrapnel, glass and plane parts for souvenirs.

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Headquarters buildings at Framlingham, Suffolk, England (Station 153) in March 1945. (Source: Wikipedia)

Following the war the airfield/land was returned to my father’s uncles. Most of the runway was pulled up but some still remains (in fact Dad would take us all for driving lessons on it) along with some of the original buildings.

The Parham Airfield Museum stands on the site today and pays tribute to these men. It’s well worth a visit if you are ever in England!

Elizabeth Skinner is an instructor at the Museum of Aviation Education Center.

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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B-17 Updates & Wish Lists!

The B-17 has undergone an enormous change in the past year.  July will mark one year since the tail gunner compartment arrived, followed in August by the wings, vertical stabilizer, and fuselage.  Progress has been slow, but thanks to our volunteers and our Restoration team, the B-17 has made every day since its arrival.  Below is a quick look at where we started, and where we are now.

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In order to continue the restoration project, the Museum of Aviation Foundation will be raising funds through multiple events each year, beginning with the Wings & Wheels car show on October 8th.  We have also revamped our Go Fund Me page (located below).  If you wish to become a sponsor for the B-17, or for an upcoming event to benefit the B-17, please contact Christin McFarland at 478-222-7534 for more information.

B-17 Restoration GoFundMe

 

Thank you to our June Donors!

Thank you to this month’s donors.  For more information on the corporations that help keep us going, just click on their link.

Robins Regional Chamber

Lockheed Martin Skunkworks

Planters First Bank

International City Optimist

TEGNA Foundation

Lockheed Martin Corporation

Middle Georgia RESA

McCullough Funeral Home

Lakota Solutions

 

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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