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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The Beginning of the End, Academically Speaking

From time to time I like to ramble a bit. So the several sections that follow below are not necessarily all related, but happened to be on my mind today.

–          It is that time of year again, when students return to school for another year of tests and learning. For some it’s a first, as they enter a new school or grade. For others it’s a last, as they start the end of their respective grade or education level. For me it is the beginning of the end, as I start my last semester of classes in graduate school (more on that later). It was great to see all the kids here over the past few months for summer camps. I have fond memories of summer camps, both as a participant and leader. The education department here at the Museum of Aviation offered plenty of events during the summer, and their fall education programs will be getting started soon as well. The people there do an excellent job and provide a great service to the local educational community.

–          As for me, on Wednesday of this week I returned to the classroom for the semester. I have been working on my Masters in Public History at the University of West Georgia for two years now, and along the way have earned a Museum Studies Certificate. It has been an interesting experience to say the least. The Museum Studies program at UWG is top-notch. The partnership the program shares with the Atlanta History Center provides students with the type of unique hands-on experience that is not offered in many other settings.

–          The Museum of Aviation is now on Twitter. We have had a consistent Facebook presence for a while now. Both of these mediums are great ways for us to provide you with instant updates and behind the scenes information. For my own part, I try to tweet at least once during the morning walk through with a picture of something around the museum that grabs my attention.  So if you are on Twitter and/or Facebook and aren’t already, make sure to follow us on both.

–          If you follow us on Twitter (shameless plug #1) you already know this by now, but we recently put the rotor blades back on our HH-3E Jolly Green Giant helicopter. The picture on the website has not been updated yet, but as you can see below it really changes the character of the aircraft to have the rotor blades back on; the Jolly Green Giant looks complete now.

The HH-3E Jolly Green Giant in Hangar One at the Museum of Aviation

That’s all from here for now. As documented through Twitter, (shameless plug #2) the look of Hangar One continues to evolve. We are moving around aircraft and continue to move towards the eventual goal of giving the hangar a greater focus on the Vietnam War. There will be more on the changes there and other exhibit and collections items later. Enjoy your week!