Science education takes flight in Indiana with ISU's help

August 1 2006


Flight has always been a topic of intense curiosity, offering opportunities for great student interest. AeroLab will capitalize on this natural interest when it pairs up 30 Indiana science teachers from 16 cities with their local airports for a free, one-day workshop at the Indianapolis Executive Airport in Zionsville from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, August 5. The media is welcome to attend.

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.

Troy Allen, assistant professor of aerospace technology at Indiana State University, and AeroLab coordinator, says that the workshop will address Indiana's 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 real-world, lab setting."

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."

At the end of the workshop, curriculum will be provided to 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, where students will visit their local airport, receive free flights and guided tours, and speak to pilots.


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.


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


-- Video/Photo:
Teachers will be taking airplane rides (noon and 3 p.m.); engaging in hands-on activities such as building balsa wood flyers and testing them (8:15-noon and 1-3 p.m.).

-- Interviews:
In the afternoon, after the teachers have experienced some of the workshop.

-- Where to go:
Media should check in at the FBO building (Montogomery Aviation) at the airport and ask which hangar the AeroLab Workshop is in. Ask for Troy Allen of Indiana State University or Andy Montgomery of Montgomery Aviation.

-- Schedule:
8:00 - 8:15 -- Opening remarks
8:15 - 12:00 -- Hands-on workshop activities
12:00 - 1:00 -- Lunch and Teacher orientation flights
1:00 - 3:00 -- Hands-on workshop activities
3:00 - 4:00 -- Teacher orientation flights


CONTACT: Troy Allen, assistant professor of aerospace technology, Indiana State University, (812) 237-2660,; or Andy Montgomery, she is the vice president of Montgomery Aviation, (317) 769-4487 or (317) 769-3288

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

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Story Highlights

AeroLab workshop, coordinated by ISU's Aerospace Department in the College of Technology, pairs up Indiana teachers and local airports for standards-based physical science lessons at Zionsville Airport on Aug. 5.

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