Teachers take flight with TROY's Wiregrass Math and Science Consortium

Posted: Thursday, 02 April 2009

DOTHAN—A group of area teachers participating in Troy University’s Wiregrass Math and Science Consortium got a first-hand lesson in aerospace education last month thanks to the Civil Air Patrol’s Fly-A-Teacher program.

Consortium members took flight with CAP pilots during Fly-A-Teacher Day at the Dothan Airport on March 7. In spite of bumpy updrafts and queasy stomachs, the teachers enjoyed the opportunity to fly and learn with the CAP, said Sandra Armstrong, director of the Wiregrass Math and Science Consortium at TROY’s Dothan Campus.

The Fly-A-Teacher program is part of the CAP education initiative and is designed to expose teachers to the world of aviation. During the event, the teachers were flown over their schools and they took pictures of them from the air using digital cameras.

Armstrong said the teachers will in turn use the photos to teach various aspects of math and science including geometry and other spatial concepts.

“The Wiregrass Consortium’s focus for the past two years has been on using inquiry teaching in the math and science classroom, with an emphasis on aerospace concepts,” Armstrong said.

Covington County teacher Sherri Williams said she loved flying with the CAP and left with new ideas for classroom lessons.

“As I have had time to reflect, I learned many wonderful and useful things I will continue to share with my students,” Williams said.

CAP is an auxiliary of the U. S. Air Force. One of its missions is to expose teachers to opportunities in aerospace education which they might not otherwise have the opportunity to experience.

Armstrong said the math and science consortium partnered with the CAP last summer to fly 25 area teachers to the Kennedy Space Center on a C-9 Medivac plane where they had the rare opportunity to take a behind-the-scenes tour of the launch facilities.

“We are so fortunate in our program to have support from wonderful aerospace partners like NASA and the Civil Air Patrol,” Armstrong said. “They have made it possible this year for our members to see and do things that most teachers never experience. This is so valuable in motivating them to try new and innovative ideas in their classrooms—as a result, both they and their students benefit.”

The Wiregrass Math and Science Consortium is a joint venture of TROY’s Dothan Campus, the Alabama Commission on Higher Education and partner school systems. Its goal is to increase student performance in math and science by providing professional development for K-12 teachers .

Laylah Amatullah Barrayn

Fly-a-teacher 1: Charm Russler, a science teacher at Carver Magnet School and Diane Waston, a teacher at Webb Elementary School, give a “thumbs up” prior to taking flight with the Civil Air Patrol during Fly-A-Teacher Day at the Dothan Airport sponsored by Troy University’s Wiregrass Math and Science Consortium. (TROY photo)

Laylah Amatullah Barrayn

Fly-a-teacher 2: Marty LaBlanc, a teacher at the Dothan City Schools PASS Academy, tries out the controls while flying with the Civil Air Patrol during Fly-A-Teacher Day at the Dothan Airport sponsored by Troy University’s Wiregrass Math and Science Consortium. (TROY photo)