TigerFlight takes teachers to the skies

by Daniel Bell, staff writer   Richard B. Russell Regional Airport was a hopping joint…

Georgia (Jul 19, 2010)

by Daniel Bell, staff writer
Richard B. Russell Regional Airport was a hopping joint Friday morning­ with planes taking off and landing every few minutes — the majority of which were serving as airborne classrooms — and to make things more interesting, the students were teachers.


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Nine pilots from the TigerFlight Foundation took about 50 area math and science teachers to the skies Friday as part of the Northwest Georgia Math-Science Partnership program, an initiative of Kennesaw State University that aims to provide educators with new strategies ideas for their classrooms.

“Basically, they teach teachers,” explained Mary Beth Waggoner, a sixth- and eighth-grade science teacher at Menlo Elementary in Chattooga County. She has been involved with MSP for a few years now.

Waggoner took her first-ever flight in one of the small airplanes Friday, and she said the lessons learned during the experience will translate well into her classroom as she teaches students about aerodynamics, lift, thrust and other principles related to flight.

“It was an awesome experience. I’ve never got to do something like that before in that kind of plane,” she said. “Most kids have never even been to an airport, so it will be good to relate that experience to them.”

TigerFlight’s David Wright, a retired United States Air Force lieutenant colonel, said that is the point of their work with teachers.

“What we want them to do is go back to their classroom and describe the process of flight,” said Wright.

The pilots took teachers through various maneuvers to allow them to feel the effects of gravity, speed and G-force. The educators were even allowed to take control of the planes during their 15-minute flights.

“I got to feel the G-force and do a little flying myself,” said Kelly Scott, an eighth- grade science teacher at Rockmart Middle School.

Scott, who teaches physical science, said her experience as an airborne student will certainly help her be a better earthbound teacher.


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu