NSF Awards: 0929609
2015 (see original presentation & discussion)
Grades 9-12
Flight simulation is used as an active-learning environment to teach and learn mathematics and science concepts for 9-12 grade students. The approach is PC-based and uses off-the-shelf hardware and software. The innovative hands-on activity is chosen in view of the excitement that is generated by flying an airplane and low cost of the associated hardware/software.
Several mathematics and science lessons, that engage students with hands-on activities on the flight simulator, have been developed to reinforce the concepts. When students fly a mission, data is automatically recorded in a text file. Data needed for the corresponding lesson is then extracted into Excel sheet using specially developed macros. Students use the flight parameter data to determine answers to scenario-based questions. Therefore, the flight simulation environment allows students to understand the connection between math and science learned in the classroom with real life situation.
Neil Plotnick
Flight simulation software is a fairly complicated application. What challenges did the students and teachers have to enter into each of the specific modules? Do you modify the software so that each scenario is entered directly or do the users have to take off and reach a particular altitude to then begin the module?
Mohammad Javed Khan
You are correct. Flying itself is a complex task. Therefore to be able to fly a scenario to collect data, we developed specific modules (modified MSFS lessons) such that useful data can be collected. For example, the lesson on slopes, rates etc of the video, the student launches the lesson and the airplane is brought to the initial automatically via autopilot. The students then are told via message on the screen to accelerate and decelerate the airplane. During this lesson, the student had control of only the throttle and the airplane is flown straight and level via autopilot. In an other module for example on circles, the student had control of bank angle while the altitude is maintained via autopilot. I hope this answers your question.
Jessica Hunt
I noticed that you described professional development activities for the teachers in terms of the flight simulation software and learning modules developed for students. I am wondering if you could provide more information in terms of the structure of the professional development sessions. Were they held at the same time as the summer camps? Did teacher professional development integrate and focus on student’s possible learning pathways within the learning activities in some way?
Chadia Affane Aji
Innovative Flight SImulation Experiences for Students and Teachers
We had professional development for teachers before the summer camp for students. We introduced the teachers to the flight simulators and presented some learning modules. The teachers had hands-on activities and were asked to create a lesson based on the sample lesson with the flight simulator. We encouraged them to attend the students workshop and some of the teachers did. They were glad to see how the students interacted with the learning module. We still continue supporting teachers at schools to implement this approach. Please let me know if you still have further question or if something is not clear regarding the professional development for teachers.
Jessica Hunt
Thanks Chadia this is helpful!
Joseph (Joe) Gardella
Wonder if there are limits to using an existing Microsoft flight simulator. Are there others that are more professional that might be good to contrast with the Microsoft product?
Mohammad Javed Khan
The biggest challenge is to develop ‘flights’ that have apprpriate restraints so that the student does not struggle with the ‘flight’ and can collect useful data. As mentioned in my previous response tha is how we have designed the flights. Anpther example is the ‘landing scenari’. In this case the student has controlover over the pitch of the airplane while the autopilot maintains the alignment with the runway.
Neil Plotnick
Are the students using control yokes and pedals or is the program input being done via keyboard and mouse? I suppose that either would work fine for your purpose. I would like to gauge the approximate cost for this per seat.
Chadia Affane Aji
Innovative Flight SImulation Experiences for Students and Teachers
The students use the keyboard and the joystick to fly. It is an easy process, the students enjoy it.
For the cost, the software is about $30 and the joystick around $30 too.
Veerava
sound level is very low hard to hear
Chadia Affane Aji
Innovative Flight SImulation Experiences for Students and Teachers
We had to change the audio recorder while recording the demo. Please check the captions (click on the cc). I apologize for that.
Stephanie Teasley
I think you have a really interesting program and I would have like to hear more about what the students did and how they thought about it. The demo is more like a “talking heads” narration and interface demo. Can you tell us more about how the students react to using this for learning?
Mohammad Javed Khan
The students’ response is very positive. They are excited about ‘flying’ the sim. In the summer program program we registered a statistically significant pre-post improvement in content knowledge. We have deployed the approach in the local high schools where we support the teachers using the lesson modules on as needed basis. The students are very engaged in data extraction, plotting using excel and calculating e.g. slopes from the graphs.
Chadia Affane Aji
Innovative Flight SImulation Experiences for Students and Teachers
Thank you. The students enjoyed the workshops especially flying. We gave a Pre-Test at the beginning of the workshop and a Post-Test. The tests scores showed that students improved their math and science skills and learned and reinforced the concepts. In addition, based on the survey students reported positive impact of the approach.
Deborah Kariuki
This is quite innovative way of teaching math. Is the project only geared to teaching slopes or are there other modules that are taught using this software? It would have been good to have examples of teachers at the workshops and students using the software. What is the availability of this software and where can one find it?
Further posting is closed as the event has ended.