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.


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.


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

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!

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

What in the World is a STEM Lab?

What in the World is a STEM Lab?

You might be wondering if we are testing plants in a new biology lab of some
sort….. That would be cool, but no, that is not the type of STEM Lab we
are planning.  STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and

 In September, 2010, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and
Technology (PCAST), created a report for the President that states, “We must
prepare students so they have a strong foundation in STEM subjects and are
able to use this knowledge in their personal and professional lives. And we
must inspire students so that all are motivated to study STEM subjects in
school and many are excited about the prospect of having careers in STEM
fields”. (President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. 2010. Report to the President  PREPARE AND INSPIRE: K-12 EDUCATION IN SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING, AND MATH (STEM) FOR AMERICA’S FUTURE. pg.V. )

STEM students work together in the Air Traffic Control classroom.

 The Museum of Aviation has been presenting programs for students and
educators since 1984 when the museum first opened.  Education has always
been an important mission of the museum.  The programs have grown over the
years, and we are proud that history, science, technology, engineering and
math have been the foundation of our curriculum.   STEM Labs will focus
directly on specific questions that challenge students to think, hypothesize
and experiment their way to a solution.

.       Oct 7                Rocketry

.       Oct 29              Chemistry

.       Dec 17             Flight

.       Feb 24             Air Traffic Control

.       Apr 6                Computer Components

 All STEM labs are open to 6th – 9th grade students.  The programs will be
held in the Century of Flight Hangar at the Museum of Aviation.  Each STEM
Lab costs $20.

A STEM instructor teaches about the physics of flight.

 Below is the complete schedule of Fall and Winter Programs.  All programs
are 9am until noon.  Prices vary. Call 478-926-5558 or email to register.

October 7                    1st-2nd              Culinary Kids

October 7                    6th-9th               Rocketry STEM Lab

October 29                  PreK-5th           Spooky Science

October 29                  6th-9th               Chemistry STEM Lab

November 22               1st-2nd              Thanksgiving Holiday Fun

December 17               PreK-5th           Science with Santa

December 17               6th-9th               Flight STEM Lab

Now that I think about it, a STEM class on stems could be pretty fun too!
Call us for more information on any of our programs..there is always a lot
going on at the Museum of Aviation!

– Melissa G. Spalding

  Director of Education

  478-926-0247  Office

  478-954-1915   Cell