PUNGO — Fifth-grade students from several Virginia Beach schools competed in a STEM Airplane Challenge at the Military Aviation Museum on Friday, Nov. 18, an event that built upon a partnership between Creeds Elementary School and the nearby museum.
Students from Creeds Elementary School had roles to play in executing the event, from tracking the progress of the competing teams to measuring distance of the paper airplanes to holding signs that asked for quiet in the thick of the contest.
Iolaus Byrd and Jordan Grimstead, both 10-year-olds from the Pungo area, handled the latter duty. “I’m trying to keep everyone quiet so people don’t get headaches and stuff and can listen to the teachers,” Grimstead said.
Fellow Creeds student Asher Brewer, 10, helped teachers keep track of which events the groups had completed.
“I like how we really got it organized,” he said. “Everybody has a job.”
Amid tours and opportunities to throw paper airplanes to test their capabilities, a number of students, taking their work seriously, practiced throwing their handiwork.
Jasmine Adamson, 10, of Salem Elementary School discussed how she tested the design of her plane before getting in several practice throws.
“I put tape on it so it can go the farthest, and I made it big,” she said. “I think big planes go the farthest.”
Yuhang Zhang, 11, Colin Benson, 10, and Johnathan Likens, 10, were a team from Strawbridge Elementary School
They said they designed planes, tested them, and then modified designs to achieve better results. They learned, and they said they enjoyed the teamwork. And they got to visit the museum.
“This place is awesome,” Likens said.
“The kids have really enjoyed it,” said Roger Mackintire, a Strawbridge fifth grade teacher and STEM coordinator. “They learned a little about the design process, made mistakes and learned from them.”
Casey Conger, principal at Creeds Elementary School, led presentations of awards after the competition. “I guarantee you,” she said, “your students know independent and dependent variables better than ever before.”
Mike Potter, executive director of the museum, credited the staff at Creeds for their work putting the challenge together. “It’s just a great way to make learning focused and fun,” he said.
“Next year, I think this is just going to mushroom,” Potter added. “I want to see this place be awash in yellow busses.”
North Landing Elementary School has the plane that flew furthest. A Christopher Farms Elementary School plane flew fastest. And a plane from Strawbridge Elementary School achieved the most “hang time.”
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