9th graders in Maryland offered aviation STEM curriculum

Ninth graders in Maryland offered aviation STEM curriculum (Photo: ABC 7)

It’s being called the first of its kind; an aviation science, technology, engineering and math curriculum that's being offered to high school students in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties.

The release of a new curriculum at Magruder High School in Rockville.

"We look at the different principles of flight and how that works and getting to the root of not only we can fly but how do we fly?" Aviation Academy Teacher Andrew Brown said.

Thirteen-year-old Ruth Gebremariam told ABC7 News, "Today we are making a parachute that can create a drag."

The lessons are offered through the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association High School STEM Aviation curriculum.

AOPA Vice President of Aviation Programs Elizabeth Tennyson said, "They’ll learn aviation concepts, engineering concepts, they’ll do math. There is some physics involved, so it’s very comprehensive."

The hope is that implementing the curriculum will help meet the growing demand for aviation workers.

AOPA cites a 2017 Boeing study that found an estimated 637,000 new commercial aircraft pilots, 648,000 technicians, and 839,000 cabin crew members will be needed worldwide over the next 20 years.

"The aviation field is in dire need of employees whether it be pilots, aviation mechanics, or air traffic control," Brown said.

The AOPA curriculum allows students to focus on one of three pathways: pilot, unmanned aircraft systems (drones) and aerospace engineering.

By the end of the four-year program students can also earn certifications.

"That qualifies them to be commercial drone operators and students who take the pilot pathway, they’ll get the FAA pilot knowledge exam so they’re ready to take their training and go become a private pilot," Tennyson said.

"I want to get my private pilot’s license by twelfth grade and apply to the U.S. Air Force Academy to become a fighter pilot," ninth grader Qwazi Mustafa said.

The AOPA curriculum is also available at Duval High School in Lanham, Maryland.

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