ISU helps science education take flight in Indiana

June 5 2006


TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - Flight has always been a topic of intense curiosity, offering opportunities for great student interest. AeroLab will capitalize on this natural interest when it brings together Indiana science teachers and local airports for a free, one-day workshop at the Indianapolis Executive Airport in Zionsville on August 5.

AeroLab is a hands-on, inquiry-based workshop in conceptual physics and physical science for middle school through ninth-grade teachers. The program is designed to meet Indiana state standards in science, as well as address concepts such as force and motion, which are part of the upcoming federal "No Child Left Behind" testing program in science.

Recently released National Assessment for Education Progress scores showed that Indiana's science scores have seen an overall decline since 2000. In an Indiana Department of Education press release, Superintendent of Public Instruction Suellen Reed said, "A strong understanding of the sciences is key to our students' education and our economic competitiveness as a state."

Troy Allen, assistant professor of aerospace technology at Indiana State University, and AeroLab coordinator, says that the workshop will address this need for enhanced instruction in the sciences.

"The core reason for this aviation workshop is to provide Indiana science teachers with another method by which they can effectively teach science principles and educate the students to the many career opportunities available in aviation," Allen said. "It will demonstrate to teachers how to blend the excitement of aviation with foundational scientific concepts in a hands-on, lab setting."

The curriculum will be provided to workshop participants free of charge to bring back to their classrooms. Developed by middle school science teachers for their peers, the science lessons require the students to build balsa wood flyers and then record data based on test flights, Allen says.

"We will not only be teaching them how to incorporate aviation into their existing curriculum, but ISU will provide all the materials they will need to replicate in the classroom what they have learned at the workshop," Allen said.

The workshop also will partner educators with the manager at a local airport so an Aviation Day for students can be held at a later date.

"The Aviation Association of Indiana will try to partner all teachers with an airport manager in their area so that the airport can assist the teacher with these class lessons," Allen said. "After the workshop is completed, the science teacher and airport manager will set up an Aviation Day where the students will complete in-class assignments and then visit their local airport. Airports may be able to provide free flights for students who win contests, give guided tours of the airport and allow the students to board an aircraft."

AeroLab is sponsored by Indiana State University, the Aviation Association of Indiana, the Indiana Department of Transportation?s Office of Aviation, and the Indianapolis Executive Airport.


The workshop will be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, August 5, at the Indianapolis Executive Airport, 11329 E. State Road 32 in Zionsville.

AeroLab is free of charge and is open to Indiana science teachers in middle school through ninth grade. This workshop also may be useful for any high school science teacher seeking engaging lessons in conceptual physics. A free continental breakfast and lunch will be provided.

Participants will receive more than $125 of curriculum for each of their students at no charge to take back to their classroom. Certificates of attendance also will be provided.

There is a 35-participant limit. The registration deadline is July 15. To register, contact Cindy Tooman with the Aviation Association of Indiana at or (317) 916-4187.


AeroLab meets the following state science standards: 5.3.11, 6.1.3, 6.2.2, 6.2.5, 6.7.2, 7.3.17, 8.1.3, 8.2.2, 8.2.7, 8.2.8, P.1.7, P.1.8, P.1.9, 8.3.13


CONTACT: Troy Allen, assistant professor of aerospace technology, Indiana State University, (812) 237-2660,

WRITER: Katie Spanuello, media relations assistant director, Indiana State University, (812) 237-3790 or

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Story Highlights

AeroLab workshop, Aug. 5, pairs up teachers and local airports for standards-based physical science lessons, says Troy Allen, ISU assistant professor of aerospace technology and AeroLab coordinator.

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