Flights With Fathers at ESK is a Third Grade event that is a truly integrated educational experience. Students learn all about aeronautics beginning with the Wright Brothers and including the functions of drag and lift. They visit the Tennessee Museum of Aviation in Sevierville and discover the history of planes and famous aviators. The students make two paper airplanes, one for distance and one for flight time. They test them in class and record pertinent information. They finally invite their fathers to come to a competition, and today more than 38 fathers and family members came and made memories.
As I looked in the gym, which was bursting with excitement, I thought, “I would have remembered this if I had done this in third grade.” It struck me, as an educator who firmly believes in a rigorous academic program, that events like this firmly cement what students learn. Unless we take the time to provide children with authentic experiences that encourage them to use the language they have learned and teach others by sharing their knowledge, students can quickly forget what they have been told. We can and do cover math, science, reading, writing, Mandarin, Spanish, technology, music, art, religion, and so much more; and at ESK we also look for ways to help students remember with their hearts as well as their minds.