The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force’s Education Division has unveiled the schedule for its 2011 multi-disciplinary educational programs. Emphasis will continue to be in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), as well as social studies, literature and art, for the programs, many of which are free.
An expanded Space Day program is scheduled for early May. Activities include a presentation by astronauts, a star-gazing party (weather permitting), space-related science demonstration stations and guided tours of the museum’s Missile & Space Gallery. Additional activities will be announced as the event nears.
A new program in 2011 is the “Air Force Heritage and History Writing Competition,” which provides students between the ages of 13-18 the opportunity to showcase their writing talents while vying for $2,000 in scholarship funds.
During the popular – and free – monthly Family Days, held on the third Saturday of each month (second Saturday in December), visitors of all ages can participate in hands-on demonstrations focusing on basic aerospace principles. Other activities include walk-in workshops such as building a robotic hand, story times with aerospace themes, and assembly-type programs featuring speakers such as boomerang expert Gary Broadbent.
Home School Days are offered in the spring and fall, featuring workshops, scavenger hunts and other hands-on activities for families with home-schooled children in all grade levels from preschool through high school. Past workshops have included a geometry-based activity where students built their own sled kites, a rocket building class to teach math and science while students built their own rockets, and a story time program on “Things That Fly.”
Each summer, the museum’s Aerospace Camps teach STEM-based aerospace principles to students in grades 2-9. These five low-cost, week-long camps focus on different topics for each age group, including rocketry, science and math activities, and even literature-based programs for younger students.
For parents and educators looking for activities to use at home and in the classroom, lesson plans and resource guides can be downloaded from the museum’s website. Other online highlights include interactive programs as well as aerospace-themed word searches and coloring pages.
To learn more about educational in-house and outreach school and youth group programs, as well as other activities at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, which is in Dayton, Ohio: NationalMuseum.af.mil