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Learning takes flight

Yaretzy Martinez, a seventh-grader at Coulwood STEM Academy, knows her way around technology. She's been learning how to code since fifth grade and is currently part of her school's Girls That Code Club. She and two of her classmates built a toy-sized car and created the coding that controls it. Yaretzy has also mastered the art of flying drones, which is a skill that can lead to potential jobs in the fast-growing drone industry or a broader career in aviation. Now, she and the other students at her school will be exposed to even more options in aviation and aerospace, thanks to a partnership between Honeywell and Carolinas Aviation Museum (CAM).

The goal of the partnership is to bring the museum into the classroom through courses that connect science, technology, engineering and mathematics to career pathways.

"The partnership is bringing our students' learning to another level," said Principal Janet Moss. "Our students are excited. It's tapping into their natural curiosity, which may lead them to a future career. With the museum closed as they make plans for a new facility, we are benefiting greatly from the staff's knowledge and teachings."

At a recent assembly to celebrate the partnership, students received a lesson on how things fly. The presenter talked about thrust, lift, weight and drag that occurs each time an aircraft takes off. Interactive demos with a model airplane, helicopter and drone kept the students engaged.

Savannah Teal, a seventh-grader, said she learned a lot from the presentation.

"I had no idea helicopters use their tail rotor to prevent spinning, but they use it to stop spinning in the opposite direction," said Savannah. "This is my first year here. We didn't have anything like this at my old school. I'm using technology, flying drones and building things. I like being able to do things outside of the usual coursework."

Other courses are centered on aviation safety, careers and aerodynamics, which also have hands-on components.

"For several years, our school has enlisted Carolinas Aviation Museum to deliver STEM programming and field trips that have served as a terrific complement to classroom curriculum," said Don Robbins, a Coulwood teacher. "The museum's educational programs have allowed our school to expose many of our students, especially young ladies who may not otherwise have had the opportunity, to experiences that show them a wide range of career opportunities in aviation and other tech fields. We're thrilled that Honeywell is collaborating with CAM to support our students with these educational experiences that promote workforce development and economic mobility in our region."

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