CCPS students ‘take flight’ in STEM project

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First graders at Cullman City Primary School create and fly their own mini wooden airplanes as part of a recent STEM project. (Cullman City Schools)

CULLMAN, Ala. – First graders at Cullman City Primary School had a chance to create and fly their own mini airplanes as part of a recent Science, Technology and Math (STEM) project. To celebrate the recent Read Across America Week, all first graders at Cullman City Primary School were given a mini wooden glider airplane to assemble and create, based on the Dr. Seuss book “A Great Day for Up.” Materials were provided by Civil Air Patrol/ U.S. Air Force Auxiliary Aerospace Education as part of a STEM initiative.

“Students gained an understanding of flying their glider, discovering how the force with which they toss the glider and the angle at which they release the plane affects flight performance,” CCPS first-grade teacher Amanda Stidham explained. “Students made predictions about how far the glider would fly, and practiced different throwing motions in order to keep the airplane in the air longer.”

Once the lessons were completed and all the students had a chance to fly their airplanes, the first graders were given honorary certificates as pilots of the aircraft they created.

In addition to learning the basics of flight, Stidham said, the project was also a hands-on teaching moment for students to learn about making adjustments and learning “on the fly” — pun intended.

“The project taught students to persevere and make adjustments as needed,” she said. “The excitement and encouragement for each other was contagious. Students were engaged with meaningful lifelong lessons through this activity.”