Monday, March 13, 2006

Math Monday: Flying With Numbers

I've always wanted an excuse to use the word Aviatrix in a post:
Eighth-graders in the Dallas-Fort Worth area are learning how important mathematics can be with help from a round-the-world flyer.

Sandi Smith has developed a slide show and video presentation based on her circumnavigation of the globe in 1995 in a single-engine plane. Students learn how to calculate air speeds and fuel consumption, the cost of refueling and the price in Australian dollars.

"It really gave the students real world experience with math problems," says Michele Davis, librarian/media coordinator at Rusk Middle School in Dallas.

The math lessons can really sink in when students realize that many of these calculations are matters of life and death for pilots.

The program, in addition to new math insights, exposes students to the aviation industry, to geography and history. Smith compares her own route to Amelia Earhart's and shows slides, including an Arabic-signed McDonald's in Oman that she says is always a big hit.

Smith is developing a video to allow her program to be used more widely.
In my own classroom experience, I've found that the interest level of kids in all grades can be increased simply by using the words airplane or pilot separately or together. Even after 100 years of powered flight, aircraft remain as enticing as ever.
See our latest education-related entries right here.