Name That Plane

STEM Program Makes Aerospace Engineering Exciting

Manufacturing Group | November 6, 2012

As part of Project Lead the Way, students at two Iowa schools got in-flight demonstrations from pilots to supplement the coursework.

STEM Program Makes Aerospace Engineering Exciting

As part of an aerospace engineering class, students from two Des Moines, IA, high schools got flight demonstrations, instead of simulations, at a local airport.

Fourteen juniors and seniors participating in the Project Lead the Way program, which teaches Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) for middle school and high school students, flew with flight instructors from Advanced Air at Council Bluffs Municipal Airport, according to Nonpareil Online.

According to the Nonpareil, the students in the program learn about flight controls and flight surfaces on an airplane, and complete tutorials on a flight simulator.

But this experience took their learning to new heights, according to some of the students.

“I’ve never been on a plane before,” senior Austin Russell told the online publication. “The coolest part was watching the birds fly under us.”

He plans to study engineering at Iowa State University after he graduates, according to the Nonpareil.

The aerospace engineering course is only in its first year, according to the publication. Abraham Lincoln High school teacher, Ryan Higgins, developed the program in Des Moines, after attending a training course from Project Lead the Way.

““I headed out to San Diego this past summer and did the same course the students are doing,” he said to Nonpareil. “As soon as I got off my plane, I sent an email to people in the (Council Bluffs Community School) district because I was so excited about this. I thought, ‘We need to find a way to get the kids to do this, too.’”

Higgins also told the publication that younger students in both Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson High School are excited about the program, too, because they’re eager to work their way up to flying a plane.

Click here to read the full article at Nonpareil Online.

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