Washington Educator Hopes Teachers Pass That Passion To
It's summer school for teachers, with a twist.
The four-day summer Science of Flight program, developed eight
years ago by Snohomish science teacher Gary Evans, is held at Paine
Field, WA, with the goal of inspiring teachers to learn about
aviation and then pass their newly-acquired knowledge and passion
onto their students, reported the (WA) Daily Herald.
"I was so inspired by a flight I took many years ago, at a
friend's invitation, that I earned my own pilot's license," said
"In 2000, I started my Science of Flight program in Everett (WA)
to tell other teachers about aviation and to show them how it could
be presented in the classroom as a science topic. Teachers not only
get summer education credits for the course, but they also have an
experience most of them had never even thought about before."
In its first seven years, 110 teachers have completed the
course, resulting in more than 7,000 students finding a new way to
apply math and science principles - and perhaps a future career or
avocation. This summer, 25 teachers are enrolled in the program,
during which they have to prepare an aviation lesson plan for their
classrooms as part of the coursework.
Each class will have teachers meeting with aviation
professionals to discuss their careers - from aircraft mechanics
and a search-and-rescue crew to airline pilots, aircraft
dispatchers and FAA control-tower personnel.
They also meet with Paine
Field Director Dave Waggoner, a former US Navy jet pilot, and Stan
Allison of the Washington DOT's Aviation Division, who provide
information to raise student awareness of modern aviation career
opportunities. Women and minorities in aviation jobs also share
their insights with the teachers about attractive options for
Let's face it, you can't hold a summer school without exciting
features and field trips. Highlights of the three-credit, $265
course, slated for July 16 — 19 and August 6 — 9,
include an introduction to the physics of flight, classroom
experiments and demonstrations using flying principles, two hours
of flight instruction in a Cessna 172, and rides in a variety of
Field trips include a tour of the Boeing 747, 767, 777 and 787
assembly plant in Everett; the Future of Flight Aviation Center and
Boeing Tour facility at Paine Field; the airport's control tower;
the Museum of Flight and Challenger Learning Center at Boeing Field
in Seattle; aircraft maintenance facilities; and the Museum of
Flight's Restoration Center at Paine Field.
Evans developed and implemented the program because he wanted to
open students' minds to the general idea aviation. He expects
students will go on to become better citizens because they would
have a better understanding of the importance of aviation to their
communities and the economy.
"The information that is passed on to them in the classroom also
shows students that flying could be a personal option in their
lives. Even more important, students learn that aviation is a great
career field they might never have considered," he said.
Evans, who is the program's instructor, has been a classroom
teacher for 35 years and is an adjunct faculty member of Seattle
Pacific University. He holds a master's of education degree in
science education and teaches chemistry, physics and environmental
studies for freshmen in the Snohomish School District.