Fermilab LInC Online

Aviation CAD Command Station


CAD Unit Description

English Unit Description

Library Unit Description

Math Unit Description

CAD Scenario

English Scenario

Library Scenario

Math Scenario

Student Timeline **

Document Rubrics **

Multimedia Rubric **

Presentation Rubrics **

**To return to staff pages, backspace on toolbar in Web browser.

Preflight Briefing

The Aviation Project consists of the discovery and understanding of what an aviation academy looks like. It is up to the students to decide what high school subject areas and courses need to be offered to cover the key aspects of the aviation field. There are six subject areas involved in helping students find their way through the project: CAD, careers, English, history, math, and science. There are four components to the project: the research, the written document, the multimedia product, and the board presentation. Each discipline covers a piece of each component. The teacher in each subject area directs students to think about a discipline and how it relates to aviation.

Flight Plan

Six classes of students are invited to a formal setting by invitation only. Ideally, the students in these six classes share the six core teachers of this project, but that arrangement is not necessary for the project to succeed. (for example, one student out of the six classes is enrolled in only one class involved in the project, while another student is enrolled in two or more of the project classes). At the presentation, the students are asked to think about the question "What does an aviation academy look like?" Speakers from the school district explain the school communities' desire for this academy and how the students can help the school board make its final decision regarding the validity of such an academy. They also share a recent newspaper article with the students.

DREAMS OF FLIGHT: Summary of message from school board

The high school has the opportunity to create and implement an aviation academy that will be a curricular path for students to explore opportunities in the field of aviation. The board will approve funding of the aviation curricular path if the school community -staff, students, and parents- can convince them that all disciplines will be included in the academy; that the academy will offer a rigorous curriculum that meets the University of California A-F requirements; and that they will be able to create enough interest in the academy that enrollment will be filled by students who are excited to choose this path.

A spokesperson for the teacher team concludes this formal presentation by giving an overview of what component is accomplished by each discipline.

The teacher opens the discussion by asking students questions. How many students have questioned why they have to learn something in school? The students discuss that they don't see how what they learn in the classroom will ever be useful to them when they get out, but here they are sitting in class doing the same old thing and not having it relate to anything. The students are enthusiastic as they discuss the opportunity to change some of this thinking by creating an aviation academy. The determine that the focus is how the traditional curricula are related to aviation in core subject and elective classes.

For this aviation academy to "get off the ground" the students agree that their help is essential. They propose ideas to convince other students that the aviation academy is a great idea. They accomplish this by creating a written document to support and promote the aviation academy. They also prepare a multimedia presentation that is a promotion piece to sell the aviation academy to students and the school board.

Their task in this endeavor is to research the question "How does CAD relate to the field of aviation?" The students remind themselves that aviation is not limited to flight but encompasses all related areas to aviation: travel service industry, airport and plane design, pilot, etc. Students discuss some of the ideas that they consider as possible courses of flight for this project. Then they divide up by interest into groups of three or four.

They think about what question they need to find out about and who and where they might find answers. Why is CAD important in the field of aviation? What needs to be taught in CAD (CAD, types of drawings, multiview, parts lists, and renderings)? What is a catchy example? How do the different subject areas support or relate to other areas?

They make use of the Internet to gather information. The teacher facilitates by providing URLs to experts and by pointing the students to meta sites where they find relevant sources. For more detailed assistance they e-mail the facilitator to have a record of their responses. Some questions that they need help with comes through contacts with an expert in the field via e-mail, bulletin board, and chat rooms.

As they move through this investigation, they find their aviation area of interest. They agree that not everyone grows up to be a composer or communicator and neither does everyone grow up to be an accountant or engineer. Through the course they learn to appreciate the talent individuals have and see how individual talent fits in the broad field of aviation.


Students follow the Student Flight Plan as directed on the Aviation Webpage. Students complete their own research, written documents, and multimedia presentations outside of class. They present their findings, written documents and multimedia presentations to the class for review and give feedback using rubrics they create. The teacher monitors, gives feedback, and evaluates each component at each stage. Students have an opportunity to refine their work before final evaluation by the teacher and selection of one written document and multimedia presentation for the district presentation. The teacher incorporates the aviation concepts that the students discover in their investigation. Students learn about lift, wing span, elevations, vectors, and other aviation tools. CAD and math students design and build paper planes, kites, airport structures, etc.

The teacher introduces one aviation concept that the students identify and ask students to develop that concept. For example, students learn about airplane terminology and share their findings. They build a paper airplane to demonstrate some of their understanding. A contest for height, distance, speed helps to encourage students to do their homework.

Students decide that the teacher gives badges for each mini class project (Research, written document, multimedia project, plane construction, etc.) they complete. If the student completes nine out of ten projects, she will earn her pilot's license.


After the students complete the CAD components of the project, a copy of the best group written document is sent to the English class for students to edit and add to the district booklet. The CAD class edits the multimedia presentation components handed to them by the other project classes. Using rubrics, the teacher and students evaluate the students' individual research papers, final group components (written document and multimedia presentation), and the final district presentation report.

Created for the Fermilab LInC program sponsored by Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory Education Office and Friends of Fermilab, and funded by United States Department of Energy, Illinois State Board of Education, North Central Regional Technology in Education Consortium which is operated by North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL), and the National Science Foundation.

Author(s): Jim Connelly (vhsconnelly@myschoolmail.com)
School: Vallejo High School, Vallejo, CA
Created: February 15, 2001 - Updated: December 28, 2002
URL: http://www-ed.fnal.gov/lincon/w01/projects/aviation/cadscenario.htm