"One can never consent to creep when one feels the impulse to soar." ---Helen Keller

Monday, June 10, 2013

Teacher Workshop

In April of this year, I had the privilege of working with a group of teachers at the annual Hurlburt AFA Chapter 398 teacher workshop. The men and women of the chapter have always been so helpful to our teachers in assisting us with our STEM education needs.

This year our theme was "Getting to the Core of Engineering: Intergrating Engineering into Your Science and Math Curriculum." It is on the agenda to add engineering to every grade level with the new Common Core science standards. Twenty teachers from the panhandle area attended the workshop.

As always, we visit Hurlburt Air Force Base, home to 1st Special Operations Wing. I have attended for multiple years and am astounded each year at the amazing things the men and women of the U. S. Air Force do. I am never bored, but humbled to be around them for a day. We were treated to an upclose and personal look at the CV-22 Osprey as well as its simulator. We see it flying overhead everyday in our area, so it is exciting to see it upclose. My favorite part this year was an absolute simple thing, but if you are a teacher you know that feeling when you see something and your wheels start spinning with teacher ideas:) It had to do with honeycomb paper and its strength. More coming on that, because I haven't been able to get it out of my mind.

During our working lunch, we were treated to a presentation by Terry Proulx of Booz Allen Hamilton on unmanned aerial vehicles. It was very interesting to see the positive possibilties of UMVs. Much is in the news about drones and the negatives, but this was a fascinating presentation of lesson ideas for our students. I walked away from the presentation with hope for our students. This is the stuff of my childhood generation's science and technology ideas that we need to be teaching this next generation.

The afternoon was filled with seminars led by real teachers and engineers in our area. We were able to learn and gather useful lesson plans. Dr. John Fay,engineer on Eglin Air Force Base set up his telescope in the day (yes, day) with a solar filter. For our middle school teachers, he had teachers learning how to use it to measure the diamter of the sun by tracking its movements across the field of view. Ken Fiedler and Steve Moczary of Embry-Riddle Worldwide provided a lesson on spatial disorientation and how it affects aviators.

For the elementary teachers, I did a lesson on using trade books to teach science. We worked through a structual engineering challenge to build bridges. I will be sharing more about this with you later. I have lots of pictures to show you of using this lesson in classrooms this year!

This teacher is so proud of her bridge challenge that she is taking a picture:)

That is me (silver hair ~ smile) demonstrating my suspension bridge.

Laura Pink, third grade teacher at Anitoch Elementary, did an outstanding lesson using stations to teach the Bernoulli Effect. I was in heaven working through the stations. I want to be in her class!!!! They were incredible.

Laura Pink

Of course, some of the teachers got to even fly. The Civil Air Patrol always brings planes and a few lucky teachers get to fly. Not only fly, but fly off of Hurlburt Air Force Base's runway. Wow, you can't get any better than that!!!

I look forward to this workshop every year. It is fun, exciting, and very real in that you get to be inspired by men and women doing great things for our country, and take home real teaching ideas from real teachers.

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