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Museum prepares teachers as they head back to school

DAYTON, Ohio -- Teachers launch a hot air balloon during a Project SOAR workshop at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Teachers launch a hot air balloon during a Project SOAR workshop at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Fall is back to school time at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, but we started working with teachers this summer.

"Teaching the teachers" is a key element in extending the Museum's outreach efforts. Since 1997, we have offered the Project SOAR Teacher Institute each summer in conjunction with the University of Dayton School of Education and Allied Professions. The institute is directed to middle school science and mathematics teachers. Teachers are immersed in aerospace education topics throughout the week and during the school year through iDiscovery at Miami University. iDiscovery creates Web-based Professional Development Communities that support Ohio educational professionals as they implement strategies and techniques learned during face-to-face workshops and institutes. This year, funding was provided through a grant from the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation.

Our school programs offer the traditional guided tours, informational scavenger hunts and hands-on, inquiry-based lessons. These programs meet national and Ohio state academic content standards, are multi-disciplinary and offered for grades 2-12. Most programs are free and available as outreach into local schools. They include topics about flight, space and various aspects of Air Force history. For instance, "Fun with Flight" explores basic aerodynamic principles while "History Mystery" teaches basic research skills as students examine and analyze primary sources in an effort to determine the "mystery" person or group.

In addition, we have two special programs scheduled in the coming month: Kite Day in October and Wright Brothers Day in December.

Educators may also access lesson plans and resource guides though the Museum's website and subscribe to the Educator Update, which includes background on the Museum's collection and links to the curriculum. See www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/education/index.asp for information about all of our educational programs.

Note: This article originally appeared in the Fall 2010 issue of Friends Journal. To receive the Journal and other benefits, become a member of the Air Force Museum Foundation.

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