Innovative education aboard the USS Yorktown

08/21/2012  | 
Field Trip Destination

Patriots Point Institute of History, Science and Technology (IHST), one of America’s leading historic, cultural and educational institutions, is stationed aboard the USS Yorktown, a National Historic Landmark, with over 15,000 students participating annually in its structured programs. The IHST delivers a broad range of innovative, and engaging educational programs to supplement the core subjects of history, science, literacy, mathematics, as well as technology and leadership development.

The Adventure is Always Evolving

New to the 2012 -2013 school year, the IHST launched its “Oscar I AM: Harry I WAS!?” literacy, history and science program. The program is built upon IHST’s proven method that education is more effective when students learn through stories, web-based activities, live interviews, streamed classes, and the ultimate, a visit to the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown. The IHST is also completing the construction of its Marine Education Center with the addition of its Robotics and Distance Learning Lab.

In the spring of 2013, we will open our Flight Academy, with its immersive simulated environment, and the latest in technology. Our goal is to foster cooperative learning, which will inspire young people, primarily in grades five through 12, to consider careers in science and engineering.

The Method

All of the IHST’s educational programs are based on three components. The first component uses stories that are designed to increase student content comprehension, academic literacy, and critical thinking skills. The second component is the development of standard based educational programs aboard the USS Yorktown with access to IHST’s website. The inquiry-based curriculum, supported by multimedia resources and hands-on experiments, invites students to explore academic content by posing, investigating, and answering questions. The final component of the program is professional development to deepen teacher content knowledge and to familiarize teachers with the IHST’s educational strategies.

Oscar I am, Harry I was!

Stories are the heart of the IHST’s new History and Science book, “Oscar I am, Harry I was.”

The “Oscar I am” science story is based upon the adventures of an element of oxygen that works his way in various forms, through South Carolina’s watershed. Throughout the journey, Oscar and his element friends experience many of the science standards that deal with elements of force and motion, the ecosystem, land formations, and the principles of matter.

All of the science programs are supported by the rich history of the USS Yorktown and the Medal of Honor Museum, housed aboard the aircraft carrier. Through a series of letters, as presented in the history chapters of the “Oscar I am, Harry I was” book, students embark on an adventure of the historical events. The genealogical study follows a Civil War veteran and his family as they participate in the Reconstruction through the Industrial Revolution, events of World War I and World War II, Vietnam and the civil rights movement, up to today.

The Ultimate

Imagine spending the night on an aircraft carrier. Deployment in the IHSTs Overnight programs includes extended History, Science and Technology Programs, Scavenger Hunts, simulators and more! Students eat all their meals in the mess deck, sleep in enlisted crew berths, and experience firsthand the challenges faced by the sailors of the United States Navy. The ship has sleeping quarters for over 500 students. Expanded program options include Astronomy, as taught under the stars on the ship’s flight deck and Oceanography, using the various wet labs both on board the aircraft carrier and on the docks located in heart of Charleston Harbor’s dynamic estuarine environment.

Flight Academy

Students participating in the IHST’s 1-3 day experiences will be situated in real-world contexts allowing students to make more solid connections between the concepts and why they are important. The highly immersive curricular plan will be centered on a series of real-world scenarios. The learning scenarios will include humanitarian assistance and disaster response to weather studies or search and rescue mission. Each learning scenario will be aligned specifically to State Educational Standards for Math and Science, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Standards, National Science Education Standards, and 21st Century Skills. Additionally, the core competencies of inquiry will be evident as teams of students are given a problem to solve based on the scenario. They will work collaboratively to decompose the elements of the problem through learning necessary new content, and then work jointly to plot the course for the mission, deal with variables that may impede success and communicate these specific plans to team members and squadrons that are flying the missions in the simulator.

The Flight Academy will be designed to take into account the functionality of the Ready Room (room in which members of an aircrew await their orders for takeoff), Joint Intelligence Center (JIC - the intelligence center of the mission command), and Joint Operations Center (JOC- the mission operations center).

Teams of Students will be given the opportunity to take charge as the Watch Captain and Tactical Coordinator, helping their fellow squadron-mates command and control virtual aircraft flown by their peers in the Academy’s networked flight simulators. The Command, Control, Communications, and Coordination element - designed to be absolutely critical to achieving mission objectives - will be experienced in the Joint Operations Centers. Here a squadron of Experimental Pilots (plus their dedicated facilitator) are placed in charge of coordinating missions that have been previously planned with their sister squadrons.

The Aircraft located on the Ship’s Hangar Bay and flight deck, will support the program with real life examples of the evolution of aeronautical design.

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