Sunday, May 22, 2011

Civil Air Patrol for Educators

I was at an NSTA conference this past fall and a friend of mine told me I really needed to visit the Civil Air Patrol booth and sign up for their program.  I had never heard of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP), but since I attended Space Academy I was game for anything space related.  It turned out to be an amazing deal!  $30 got me a TON of educator resources such as books, history of space flight, rocketry, space station, and shuttle missions.  There are posters, fun activities for the students, aerospace lessons, and quarterly newsletters.  Everything is shipped to my house and new items trickle in every once in awhile.  Part of my summer will be to go through everything more thoroughly so I can figure out where I can implement activities and units throughout the year.  These resources are only half of all the goodies you can use in your classroom!  If you are a K-6 teacher you can also sign up for the ACE program (Aerospace Connections in Education), which is also free.  You receive a binder of very detailed lesson plans that not only focus on aerospace science, but Physical activity, social studies, language arts, math, character counts, and being drug free.  Your whole class also gets free ACE t-shirts and model planes as one of their first activities to learn about flight.  When you sign up for the program you do agree to teach at least 12 of the lessons, but I found that was pretty easy to incorporate into different content areas throughout the year.  Then, as a teacher YOU get a free one-hour flight with your local CAP instructor.  Learning about the Cessna, and then taking the flight over Flagstaff was AMAZING!!!  The students love to see the pictures and video you take when you bring the experience back to the classroom.  I took the program a step further and organized a field trip out to the airport to meet with Lt. Col. Bendixen to see the CAP plane, the control tower and the fire station at the airport.  Bendixen then came to our classroom to talk more about the CAP program because the students will be eligible to enter the program next year.  I can't stop telling people what a great resource this is because so many teachers don't really know about it.  It is very inexpensive, the resources are amazing, and the CAP personnel are so nice.  I look forward to continuing this program next year and spreading the word!

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