Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Miracle on the Hudson

Last summer several STEM teachers from our county participated in a program we call STEMersion. Through this program we were able to go to local businesses and learn about STEM careers.  During this process, we visited Carolinas Aviation Museum and saw the Miracle on the Hudson airplane.  We were inspired to create a whole-school PBL where each grade level connects the Miracle on the Hudson to their curriculum.  We are all visiting the museum in January for a field trip.

In third grade we are using this event to recap our knowledge on Forces and Motion, Matter, and Heat Transfer.  We started off this week with a special guest, Beth McHugh.  She was a passenger on the plane.  She explained her story to the kids and they were able to ask her questions.  I took notes on their questions and have spent the last few evenings gathering material on Canvas for them to do more research to find additional answers for their questions.  The kids are obsessed!
The next day students arrived to see our classroom transformed into an airplane.  My loving husband even volunteered to play the captain.  Ms. McHugh even dropped it to watch!I portrayed a flight attendant, checking tickets for every student that boarded Flight 1549.  The tickets were created with real passenger names and seats.  Each student checked their luggage into their cubby, found their seat on the airplane, and prepared for take-off.  Students could peruse safety pamphlets while they waited.    
After the students boarded the airplane, they viewed a safety video, then watched a demo version of the crash with audio from the cockpit and air traffic control.  I voiced over the video with audio of me chanting, "Brace! Brace! Brace!  Heads down, stay down!"  When the crash occurred on video, I paused the video so students could "escape" out of the airplane onto cardboard wings and blow-up pool life-rafts.  We stopped and talked about what it was like in the raft and what it was like on the wings.  We talked about how cold it was out there while they were waiting to be rescued.  Some people jumped or fell into the river.  This caused their heat to transfer into the water, causing hypothermia.  Several students made the connection to the Titanic Tragedy, which we also studied a few weeks ago (Score!).  

On Wednesday, we practiced making a variety of paper airplanes.  Thursday we will be picking our favorite paper airplanes, folding them, then weighing them down with paperclips while we discuss balanced forces and the other forces required for a plane to fly.  The goal is to make an airplane travel 20 feet and land properly on a target without performing tricks.  Friday we get to use under bed storage bins to make our paper airplanes perform a water landing!  More pics to come later on!  

Let me know if you have any questions!  

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