After other Callanan Middle School students head home following Wednesday early dismissals, two groups of “I Have a Dream” Foundation (IHAD) Dreamer students have used that time to experiment with the principles of flight.
IHAD was awarded an “A World in Motion” grant through the Corridor STEM Initiative, which is aimed at helping expose students to fun, hands-on science, technology, engineering and math opportunities. To prepare for glider-making, an aeronautical engineer visited the classroom to introduce concepts of flight and community volunteers from the Des Moines Flying Club helped them develop and test their models.
Dreamers talked to the volunteers and learned a little bit about their professions and hobbies, then got a kit with clay, rubber bands, a wooden stick, and pre-cut styrofoam. They than had to build a prototype airplane glider and figure out how to get it to fly the farthest distance, stay aloft longest and what tweaks could make their glider perform stunts. During a second session, they’d cut out gliders based on their own designs.
The stakes for glider design are high. Dreamer boys and girls will compete against each other in a “Glider Olympics.” The winning team will get to get to apply for this summer’s national Dreamer conference in Colorado. A lot is on the line and the teams spent afternoons testing their gliders to get them perfect. They recorded data from test flights and measurements in a notebook to look back on when they prepare for a March 13 Glider Olympics at Callanan.
Which set of engineers will win? Take a look at this gallery of Dreamers’ initial prototypes and make your bets: flickr.com/photos/desmoinesihad