A platform for STEM education: the Learning Jet and Technology and Engineering Curriculum Project

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June 23, 2015
Students outside the Boeing 727 jet in Liberal, Kansas
Students outside the Boeing 727 jet in Liberal, Kansas
Inside the Boeing 727 jet while modifications are being made.
Inside the Boeing 727 jet while modifications are being made to transform the jet into a classroom
Inside the Boeing 727 jet after remodel
Inside the Boeing 727 jet after remodel

With a goal of helping students succeed in school, mobilize future talent, and cultivate a workforce that is prepared to meet the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) industry challenges of the future, this innovative project includes the development of rigorous academic and technical curricula to improve students’ proficiency in STEM subjects with an emphasis on encouraging female and minority students to choose STEM careers.

The curricula will be enhanced by activities that will be available in a unique and innovative classroom inside a Boeing 727 jet that has been converted into a “STEM Learning Aircraft.” The curricula will include physics, electricity and electronics, hydraulics, principles of engineering, drafting and design including blueprints and drawings, computer systems, robotics, aerospace engineering, heating and cooling systems, aerodynamics, composites, corrosion technology, and materials and process technology. The curriculum will be standards based and meet the applicable federal and state standards for mathematics and science. Workshops will be offered to assist teachers in implementing the curricula. Industry employers will be utilized for work-based learning, mentoring, and providing internship and occupational opportunities for both students and also for the instructors to maintain currency in advanced manufacturing and other science and engineering technology career areas. Development of the curriculum, teacher workshops, and student activities is made possible by partial funding from the Midwest Transportation Center (MTC).

The B727 is owned by the MAAM Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports the efforts of the Mid-America Air Museum as a public historical museum. The B727 will be located at the Liberal airport in Liberal, Kansas, adjacent to the Mid-America Air Museum, owned by the city of Liberal, who is a partner with the MAAM Foundation and USD480 Liberal School District and Seward County Community College/Area Technical School. The MAAM foundation will oversee the interior renovation and operation of the static STEM classroom for enhanced learning in K–12 education.


Objectives

  • To provide students with a learning experience that connects STEM subjects to exciting, real-world applications
  • To foster the development of confidence in students’ ability to succeed in STEM subjects
  • To introduce students to the many different careers available in technology and engineering industries
  • To ensure students gain academic and occupational skills using real-world applications
  • To provide students post-secondary education resulting in industry recognized certificates and credentials, internship opportunities, and successful future employment
  • To build the capacity of teachers to implement STEM technology and engineering lessons and activities in their classrooms.

Vision
To help students succeed in school, mobilize future talent, and cultivate a workforce that is prepared to meet the employment challenges of the future.

Mission
To increase student proficiency in STEM subjects, and enhance the teaching of STEM subjects using real-world applications of technical systems.

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