What do you think of when spending a day in the desert? How about a day in the desert with a group of 8th graders hopping into the front seat of gliders and actually being able to apply their past six weeks of studies into flights reaching for zero gravity and catching a thermal?
That was the case for a group of SCVi learners on March 9th and 10th as they headed to Crystal Airport in Llano, home of Southern California Soaring Academy. They were towed to over 6,000 feet and were given the controls to showcase their knowledge. They received instruction while in the air by certified flight instructors.
During this project, learners dove deeply into all the elements of flight, starting with some of the basic elements (parts, instruments, functions) and ending with extremely in-depth discussions on wing design, fluid dynamics, and atmospheric principles.
For weeks, learners have been getting simulator time, atmospheric measures, and flight history. They knew that getting to soar on fly day depended on not only completing missions in class but also their overall studies, which tied into the experience as well. Talk about knowing how to motivate a bunch of 8th graders and improve study skills before they embark upon their high school year!
These learners were challenged with not only completing almost 40 tasks related to flight, they had to complete challenging “missions” on the Flight Simulator. Learners had to also look at aviation history from pre-Wright Brothers era to today’s latest achievements in flight. Even though science was the main component of this project, it was not the only subject utilized. They had various writing assignments including persuasive essays, biographies, and airplane schematics that allowed us to meet many of the ELA Common Core Standards. They ended their unit at the Southern California Soaring Academy, where learners had the ability to test their knowledge with real pilots and real aircraft.
A big thank you to SCVi, especially, Mr. L, Mr. F. , Mr. S, Mrs. Guire, Mrs. Kaufman, and Julie Bennett and the team at The Soaring Academy.