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Students with sky-high creativity showcase their knowledge of aviation

Students of Art Smith Aviation Academy (ASAA) had a chance to show off their understanding of flight during the school's annual Aviation Expo.
Second-grader Hunter Owens tosses a paper airplane for one of the exhibits.
Second-grader Hunter Owens tosses a paper airplane for one of the exhibits.

Students of Art Smith Aviation Academy (ASAA) had a chance to show off their understanding of flight during the school's annual Aviation Expo.

Each year, students from Grades 5 to 8, brainstorm projects involving aviation, using their passion and creativity to take it to the next level. This year, on Thursday, May 4, students were thinking outside the box by incorporating things such as board games, paper airplanes, trivia, balloons, and even special guests.

Chris Vining, principal at ASAA said the expo gives students the opportunity to take what they've learned in aviation studies and run with it.

“It's similar to a science fair but very specific due to the nature of what the kids do in the school,” he explained. “It gives the older students a chance to show-off what they've learned while using their imagination and creativity.”

One project in particular, Vining noted, was focused on women in space. It included a board of information about women who have been involved in space exploration and one on one questions with Capt. Vanessa Fulford. Fulford is currently in the top 17 in the race to become a Canadian astronaut.

Grade 6 students Faith Donovan and Kelsey Usher said they decided to think outside of the ozone.

“I asked my mom if she knew anyone in Cold Lake that we could bring to give our project more meaning, and she mentioned Capt. Fulford,” noted Usher.

While creating their project, Donovan said there was one woman astronaut in particular that caught her eye.

“I learned that there was an Indian woman who has been in space, and I had no idea about it before,” she added.

Fulford said she was honoured to have the opportunity to share her story with some of the students and other members of the community. She hoped to inspire some of them to consider space, math, and science for their future.

Mitchell Usher, Grade 7, chose to do his project on birds and how they fly. His three birds were special guests at the event, and although he knows a lot about the species, he did learn a thing or two when working on his project.

“I knew most of the info already, but one of the things I did learn is how each of the feathers is connected to the bone,” he explained. “I also learned that poachers often hunt birds for the feathers on their chest.”

Other projects included dragonflies, the CF-18 Hornet, space travel, air traffic control, and the Milky Way.

Grade 5 students Ayden Grove and Kael Payette did their project on quickly moving objects.

The idea came from a game they had created where a pop bottle in the shape of an aircraft slides down a rope tied between two posts. The objective is to shoot the bottle with a Nerf gun before it reaches the bottom.

Payette said the game shows how difficult it can be to hit a moving object without some kind of lock-on system.

“It's important for kids to get an opportunity to show what they know and show their passions. Not only are they showing what they have learned, but they are also showing some completely different things that they find interesting,” said Vining.

The judges are made-up of military, police, and other members of the community. Each project is marked and falls under one of the categories within a certain age group. At the end of the day, winners are announced in each category.

Vining noted it's important that the community get an opportunity to see what the kids are learning at ASAA, and how they can take their knowledge and come up with an innovative project.

“I think it's essential. The teachers know what their kids can do, and I think it's interesting to have the community come and see what they can do. They get to show and demonstrate what they know to people who may have some higher levels of knowledge (on the topic).”

He added the event also showcases just what aviation is all about.

“I think the big thing is variety. A lot of times when we think of flying we think airplanes. When you get in there and you realize it's not only about airplanes, but also the different kinds of airplanes, and space exploration, balloons, parachutes, really anything that is sky-science related is part of aviation.”