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The United States Air Force Academy Department of Aeronautics Glider Design Workshop

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Thinking Outside the Box! Innovative Curriculum Exchange for K12 Engineering

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1506.1 - 22.1506.4



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Paper Authors


Caitlin R. Thorn U.S. Air Force Academy

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Capt. Caitlin Thorn is an instructor in the Department of Aeronautics at the U.S. Air Force Academy. Since commissioning from Auburn University in 2004, she has worked in the Launch and Range Program Office and the 5th Space Launch Squadron at Cape Canaveral, Florida. She holds an M.S. in Aeronautical Engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology and is involved in local STEM outreach to K-12 schools in Colorado Springs.

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Neal Barlow U.S. Air Force Academy

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Colonel Neal Barlow is the Chair of the Engineering Division, and Permanent Professor and Head of the Department of Aeronautical Engineering, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado.

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Elaine M. Bryant U.S. Air Force Academy

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Curriculum Exchange – United States Air Force Academy Department of Aeronautics Glider Design WorkshopPromoting STEM learning and development at the K-12 level is critical in fostering a desire topursue STEM learning at the university level and beyond. Increasing student’s exposure toSTEM through hands-on activities and real-life applications is essential in stimulating interestand engaging students in the STEM disciplines, and also serves to encourage active learning inthe classroom environment.The United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) offers a Summer Seminar program in whichprospective students from around the country take part in numerous workshops to include thefollowing eight STEM disciplines: Aeronautics, Astronautics, Electrical Engineering, ComputerScience, Engineering Mechanics, Physics, Chemistry and Math. These workshops each provide abrief overview of the respective subject as well as a hands-on project, demonstration, or activityto engage and stimulate student learning and apply their knowledge to real life applications.In the curriculum exchange and demonstration session, participants will be given the opportunityto actively engage and participate in one of the workshops, Glider Design. Facilitators willintroduce basic aeronautics concepts which will be applied by participants as they design, build,and test their own individual balsa wood glider. The session will culminate in a glider fly-off inwhich participants will actively assess their glider design skills and understanding of basicconcepts of flight as they evaluate how well their glider flies. This activity is effective insparking participant interest in basic aeronautical engineering concepts while applying theirknowledge to a real life glider application.

Thorn, C. R., & Barlow, N., & Bryant, E. M. (2011, June), The United States Air Force Academy Department of Aeronautics Glider Design Workshop Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18772

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