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Monday, August 19, 2013

National Aviation Day: Flying High

National Aviation Day is observed on August 19 to celebrate the history and development of aviation. It coincides with the birthday of Orville Wright who, together with his brother Wilbur, made significant contributions to aviation and flight.

Excel Math was written to give teachers the tools they need to help students develop a strong foundation in math. For over 35 years, these math lessons have been proven to develop higher-order thinking skills, build proficiency, and produce confidence in students of all ages and abilities. Read more about Excel Math and its systematic spiraling process at

Here in San Diego, the home of Excel Math, we have a wonderful Air and Space Museum in Balboa Park. It is an aviation and space exploration museum that houses airplanes, exhibits, and hands-on demonstrations. It's housed in the former Ford Building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This year it celebrates its 50th anniversary!

The San Diego Air and Space Museum offers a variety of group and individual activities tailored to meet the needs of school children. All programs correlate with the State of California's Academic Content Standards as well as the Science Framework for California Public Schools. If you plan a visit, make sure to download the pre-visit materials to help your students make the most out of their visit:

One highlight of this museum is the FS2000 Two-Seat Flight Simulator, part of an all-new, sleek squadron of indoor full-motion multi-role aircraft rides. Each is poised for the sharp banks, sky loops and screaming dives of aerial combat and is completely controlled by the pilots themselves! Pictured here is another simulator, the F35.
The 360-degree pitch, roll, spin and spiral action is real while riders fly any one of Max-Flight's combat and flight training programs on a huge 58" screen in the cockpit. The FS2000 lets guests be pilot or gunner or both as they engage in interactive dog fighting, carrier landings, flight training and aerobatic maneuvers.

If you're in Washington D.C., the Smithsonian has an outstanding Air and Space Museum. Here are some photos from the Smithsonian exhibit:

If you can't make it to D.C. to visit these planes in person, you can take a look at the Smithsonian's online exhibit about the Wright Brothers at

You can also let your students build scale models of the Wright brothers' planes from 1900 to 1903 with these instructions from Roger Storm, teacher and Chairman of the Chemistry Department at Fairview Park High School, Fairview Park, Ohio. All you need are some foam meat trays and toothpicks and minimum model-making skills. These models are designed for students in Grades 6 through 10:

Let us know how you plan to celebration Aviation Day in your classroom. Leave a comment by clicking on the word "comment" below.

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New to Excel Math? Preview elementary math lessons that really work for Kindergarten through Sixth Grade on our website:

Download sample lessons from our new Common Core Teacher Edition at

Take a look at more photos from the Smithsonian here:

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