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Design by
Lisa Dempsey

 

Impact II: Projects & Lesson Plans: A Is for Aviator
A Is for Aviator

HOW IT WORKS
As an introduction to A Is for Aviator, community helper books are used for guided reading. A KWL model helps determine the students’ prior knowledge of aviators/pilots, and the completed charts are prominently displayed in the classroom. An ongoing word wall is developed with vocabulary words on the topic (i.e., scientist, experiment, spacecraft, control tower, air traffic controller, and compass). The students create their own creative/artistic models of astronauts and pilots.

This study began while the space shuttle Columbia was in flight. Students discussed how the astronauts/scientists on board conducted scientific experiments and the nature of these activities during space flight. They learned basic research skills via daily newspapers, National Geographic magazines, and television coverage of the flight. Models of the shuttle were created to emphasize the different components of the spacecraft such as booster rockets, heat shields, computers, etc., and the importance of each part in relation to the astronaut’s scientific responsibilities. During the orienteering lessons, the children learned primary directions using a “hands-on” approach. They walked around the classroom and the block equipped with their own functioning professional compasses. They truly felt like junior aviators, and became painfully aware of current events when the Columbia exploded. Interactive writing was used to record their thoughts and feelings, and they also drew pictures. These pictures and a class letter were sent to the families of the fallen astronauts. Individual books for each child on astronauts and pilots were created with the use of a computer, utilizing scientific vocabulary and concepts. The students read and illustrated each page of their spirally bound teacher-created books. 

THE STUDENTS
Ten 6- to 8-year-old special education students with a variety of handicapping conditions and readiness to first grade levels actively participated. This program can easily be adapted for older special education students and a lower-grade general education population. 

THE STAFF
Donna Rose McNamara has taught special education students in New York City for 14 years and has a master’s degree in deaf education. She received an IMPACT II Adaptor Grant in 2002. This is her first year conducting this program. Two paraprofessionals and NYU student Kristen Cappadona assisted.  

WHAT YOU NEED
Compasses, art supplies, and books on maps, astronauts, pilots, airports, and planes are useful. Newspapers, magazines, a globe, and United States and world maps are vital visual information sources. 

OVERALL VALUE
The class experienced a wealth of meaningful knowledge and took great pride in their work. They were exposed to scientific concepts and vocabulary, current events, map skills, literary selections, and creative art experiences. After the compass study, they made the connection of the importance of scientific precision in flight. Their newly gained knowledge also enabled them to become aware of the “distinctiveness” of aviators and to communicate with each other in a more meaningful way. 

 

View the Curriculum Unit/Dissemination Packet

CURRICULUM AREAS
Science
Literacy

GRADES
K-2

MORE INFORMATION

Donna Rose McNamara
1548 York Avenue
New York, NY 10021


Principal
Suzanne Lewin

IMPACT II 
Catalog 2003-2004

 

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