SpectrUM Lands Grant, Launches Aeronautics Exhibit and Field Trips

February 26, 2016

MISSOULA – Calling all future pilots, drone enthusiasts, aeronautical engineers and astronauts: The University of Montana spectrUM Discovery Area is launching an aeronautics exhibit and field-trip program for K-12 learners.

During a 90-minute aeronautics field trip, students will explore flight using balance boards, foam gliders and paper airplanes; learn about Newton’s laws of motion and the purpose of airfoils in creating lift; and hone their flying skills on a flight simulator app. As a finale, students will have the opportunity to pilot a drone under an enclosed safety net. 

An accompanying exhibit, which will include an interactive “Wind Wall,” will share aeronautics with visitors during museum public hours.

SpectrUM created the aeronautics exhibit and field-trip program with a recently awarded education enhancement grant from the Montana Space Grant Consortium and the Montana NASA Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research program. UM’s Autonomous Aerial Systems Office provided resources and training to incorporate drone education and flight into the field-trip program.

To extend the learning experience beyond the museum walls, teachers whose classes participate in an aeronautics field trip can book a free classroom visit from a UM faculty member or graduate student who will lead aeronautics activities and serve as a higher education and career role model. UM’s We Ahttps://youtu.be/t9XlNPm_DeUre Montana in the Classroom initiative will partner with spectrUM to match UM role models with participating K-12 classes.

Teachers interested in booking aeronautics field trips for their classes should call 406-728-STEM (7836). Field trips cost $75 for 1-15 students, $110 for 16-25 students and $150 for 26-35 students. Free and reduced-cost buses are available on request, and field-trip scholarships are available through spectrUM’s Science for All Fund.

To learn more about the aeronautics field-trip program, visit http://spectrum.umt.edu/education/FieldTrips/AeronauticsFieldTrips/default.php. The public can also visit spectrUM at 218 E. Front St. in Missoula from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. Admission costs $3.50 per person.

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Contact: Jessie Herbert, spectrUM STEM education program manager, 406-243-4828, jessie.herbert@umontana.edu.