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Aviation English Command Station



CAD Unit Description

English Unit Description

Library Unit Description

Math Unit Description

CAD Scenario

English Scenario

Library Scenario

Math Scenario
Student Start Page **
Student Pages **
Student Resources **
Student Newspaper **
Staff Development Page

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 would look 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: the research, the written document, the multimedia productt, and the board presentation. Each discipline covers a piece of each component. The teacher in the subject area leads 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 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 communitiesí 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 newpaper article with the assembly.

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.


After the district presentation, the students spend the next few days in class (each class is 55 minutes long) reviewing the districtís proposal and preparing for liftoff of the project. During this class time, the students brainstorm ideas about academies and share what their perceptions are. Students review why the district has noted that there is a desire for an aviation academy and most of the students recall having taken part in a community wide survey regarding creating an aviation academy on campus. Students are assigned to the project teacherís class having shown a strong interest in an aviation academy, although some students are randomly assigned. The philosophical discussion of the "why" of an academy is recognized, but doesn't overshadow the next part of brainstorming: "What does English have to do with aviation?" Here the students observe that aviation is really a math and science field and once again English really has no relevance to real life (this is a heterogeneous tenth grade class so students come to the discussion with a variety of skills levels and experiences in school). Some students observe that even pilots have to be able to read and write. Another student says that being a pilot isnít the only opportunity in aviation. Maybe someone wants to work on the planes, or design the planes. Then someone notes that aviation is often used for commercial reasons which means that someone has to sell tickets or get people to fly with their airline. Those jobs arenít really related to math or science.

The teacher signs out and connects the computer to the LCD projector and a student volunteers to type in the brainstorm information using Inspiration software. Another student volunteers to help the recorder process the information and facilitate the discussion. The students choose to create a heading "English in Aviation". Then they brainstorm ideas such as advertising, business letters, memos, emails, reports, evaluations, technical guides, etc. At the end of the class, the student recorder saves the brainstorm to a disk.

The next class period the students discover that even with their saved brainstorm, they have difficulty getting the momentum of the discussion going again. The teacher asks them how they can keep the discussion on topic from day to day. One student, who is active in a club, suggests that someone take on the role of the secretary, who takes notes using the word processor (one computer classroom). No one is willing to accept that responsibility every day, so they quickly create a calendar and on whole class discussion days, the person assigned takes and saves notes. Before each discussion, students review notes to re-orient themselves to the task.

The students begin to question how this project relates to what they need to be learning in English because they are concerned about passing the High School Exit Exam. The teacher brings out the state Language Arts Standards and the state Technology Standards. After reviewing them with the students, the teacher asks if these standards are relevant to the development of the curriculum for the academy. The secretary makes a note of a web site for the standards.

Discussion of the standards bring the students back to the focus of the project. The next topic of discussion is what direction they take to accomplish what the board asks them to do. One student suggests that they begin their investigation by talking with someone who works in the field of aviation. Thinking back to their first brainstorm, they realize that there are many careers under the umbrella of aviation. They decide the easiest way to approach the task is to organize themselves into smaller groups. Unable to use Inspiration, (another teacher checks out the equipment so it is not available for this class to use), the students brainstorm on the white board the possible careers (pilot, flight attendant, mechanic, ticket agent, engineer, for example). Then each student volunteers to investigate the area that they are most interested in. Being reminded by the teacher that more evenly numbered groups makes her life easier, the students work out any disagreement about which group they find themselves in. The secretary types a list of the groups. Later in the project, the students create generic email accounts (hotmail, etc.) so that they can efficiently communicate about the project. A few email knowledgeable students help the rest of the class set up accounts. At this point, the teacher directs them to the links found on the student web page: Acceptable Use Policy, copyright, and Netiquette.

Some students are troubled that they donít have computer at home, but the teacher opens the classroom extra time before and after school and signs up for the computer lab several dates during the project time. The rest of the staff is aware of the project and since technology access is limited, the staff appreciates the importance of flexibility. Teachers work closely together to make sure the technology is utilized efficiently and effectively.

In Flight

Once students organize themselves into groups they begin working on a plan to accomplish their goal. Each group agrees to keep a record of discussions and to log all data collected. After the whole class discussion, the small groups decide to communicate with experts in the area they chose. At first students are stumped about how to find someone to talk to, but after discussion some groups find that some group members have a family member or friend in the aviation field. Other students go to the career teacher for information, some to the library, and some to contact the local Air Force Base community service office, a local university counseling department, and some contact local commercial airlines. Some students are also in the math class where the class is planning a presentation by a pilot. They contact him as an expert. Most groups use email to contact the experts. The teacher again guides the students to the student web pages for the project and helps them find the links to on line writing guides. The teacher sets aside class instruction time to address grammar, mechanics, form, and any other problems or questions that the students might have. The teacher also sets aside some class time to introduce literature (All Quiet on the Western Front -because the department assigns the core novel for this time period), that has aviation as an important part of its content.

At some point the students recognize how much work they are doing to accomplish their task. Theyíre pleased that theyíll be able to show the board what theyíre doing, but they want others to see their hard work. Some students feel that the log and the final product is enough documentation. A few students suggest keeping a history of the project complete with digital pictures, video, and journal entries. After some disagreement, a consensus is reached that each group choose a historian who helps create and organize those history documents. One student questions the point of adding to the work load, but is later convinced by the opportunity of being made "famous" in a final presentation, by having a picture in the final brochure or slide show.

While the English class is planning their investigation, the math class is preparing a written document that they pass on to the class for editing and suggested revision. Again, the teacher uses this opportunity to discuss clear writing and editing/revision strategies. The English students create a section for the written document when they finish their investigations.

Some of the groups bring speakers to the classroom. The speakers, representing various aspects of the aviation field, share their "need" for English in the daily carrying out of their duties. The speakers affirm the skills that the students predict in their earlier brainstorms. The students are convinced that English is an important component in the aviation academy. The students who are unable to bring speakers to the class still share their communications with the class. Some students have logs of emails; some students have letters; and one group shares a video-taped interview (the students borrow the schools video-camera and clear the interview questions with the teacher) with a ticketing agent manager. Two of the groups are able to locate, via the web, schools that have implemented an aviation academy. The students share the curriculum guide that they find on the web-site and show the emphasis placed on English. Another group finds another school web-site and is able to email the coordinator of that aviation academy. Again, the students receive information about the kinds of materials and curriculum that the school uses for the English component.

After each group shares the information they find, they feel confident that they can persuade the board about the need of an integral, rigorous English component. Each group wants to create the section for the written document. The class decides that each group writes the section and then shares with the whole class. After everyone shares, the class votes on the most persuasive, most creative, and best presented section that they agree toinclude in the final written document. The teacher steps in and asks them what they know about advertising. About persuasion? About evaluating persuasion? The students decide to contact advertising agencies so that they can invite yet another person to present to the class. They find someone who listens to what they are working on and who provides guidance. Since they are close to a city, they contact several agencies. Though no advertising expert presents on such short notice, several agencies communicate suggestions for the development of the public relations piece the students create. The teacher uses rubric assessments for the students' work and gives the students guidance on creating a rubric for evaluating the groupsí presentation of the written section. The teacher also facilitates a discussion about persuasion and the components of persuasion. She again refers the students to the links on the student project web page that helps them.


Students complete the section, evaluate, and vote. They revise and prepare the product for final publishing. As they sort through their logs, journals, digital and video pictures, they reflect on what they did well, what they learned, and what they hated about the ordeal. Next, they add their slides to the final slide show. They have difficulty agreeing on the perfect slides, but after much practice during this process- are able to reach consensus.

The teacher facilitates discussions for the assigned piece of literature and the students discuss the validity of using this piece of literature as a reading assignment for the future aviation academy students. The teacher also uses class time to review concepts and skills with the students that they used to work through this project. The students then match the various tasks that they complete to the Language Arts Standards. They are pleased to find that all of the standards have been addressed.

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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): Sheila Smith (mommymean@hotmail.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/englishscenario.htm