Twenty-four Indianola 6th and 7th grade GEAR UP students recently visited the Tulsa Air and Space Museum (TASM) in Tulsa, Okla. Students began the morning by watching the Dream to Fly Planetarium show. Dream to Fly is a poetic story about the history of aviation from Leonardo di Vinci’s wish to construct a flying machine to today’s most recent aircraft developments and everything in between, including the Wright brothers’ first aircraft in 1903.
“I love every part of the Tulsa Air and Space Museum,” said Bryan Kyle, TASM Assistant Planetarium Director. “Although I am Assistant Planetarium Director, my favorite part of the museum is the F-14 Tomcat. I have seen that aircraft since I was eight years old, and it still amazes me.”
After the Planetarium, students participated in a science-based classroom experience providing them the opportunity to build “Stomp Rockets” made of paper, tape and PVC pipe. Once students finished making their rockets, they launched the rockets using a launcher made of PVC pipe and plastic two-liter bottles. Students placed their rockets on one end of the “L” shaped PVC pipe with the plastic bottle taped to the opposite end. When students were ready to launch their rockets, they stepped on the bottle, shooting the rocket into the air. The object of the “Stomp Rockets” was to see how high the rockets would fly into the air. The focus of the activity was to enhance science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.
“Students need challenges and opportunities that encourage them to dig deeper and construct big ideas,” said GEAR UP Education Coordinator Brianna Brassfield. “Making STEM education hands-on and interesting keeps almost every student engaged, creating a better learning experience.”
After the classroom activity, students toured the museum filled with past, present and future aviation, including a computer flight simulator and small-scale rocket launch.
After the three activities at TASM, students enjoyed lunch delivered from Mazzio’s. During lunch, students shared their favorite experiences at TASM as well as things they learned throughout the day.
“Technology is rapidly advancing, and we must provide students opportunities to learn about careers that also are advancing because of technology, including aviation,” said Brassfield. “Our GEAR UP students may be future aircraft pilots or aviation engineers. By bringing them to the Tulsa Air and Space Museum, students may spark an interest in that career field.”
The field trip was sponsored by Eastern Oklahoma State College GEAR UP. Participating schools take two field trips each academic year—one to tour a college or university and one that is cultural/educational in nature.