The centerpiece of our outreach to young people is a program, begun by Dr. Noel, that he termed an Air Fair. Its purposes are threefold: to provide a conduit for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education for students in the K-8 grade levels through the wonder of flight; to allow college students to gain educational field experience; and to foster a mentoring environment between teachers and learners for inspiration and guidance.
The program consists of four elements:
a) field experience of an Air Fair brought to a community airport;
b) pre- and post-classroom activities conducted in collaboration with classroom math and science teachers;
c) teacher in-service STEM programs, and
d) Summer Sky Camps designed for STEM teachers conducted at Texas A&M University or other national STEM centers across the United States.
The Air Fair program is centered around a practical application of STEM through the use of aircraft and aviation-related meteorological projects. Students of our previous programs (conducted with the La Grange, Hearne and Bryan/College Station school districts in Texas) have had the opportunity to interact with pilots, engineers and college students while also participating in active learning modules.
These modules include water droplet analysis conducted in conjunction with a USDA team, meteorological study using local airport equipment, and aerodynamic workshops coupled with a multitude of aircraft.The curriculum of these Air Fairs has been specifically designed to support Texas STEM requirements.