WonderLab is celebrating the International Science Center and Science Museum Day with an afternoon devoted to aviation. On Saturday, November 10 from 1 – 4 p.m. explore flight and aviation engineering; middle schoolers, high schoolers and their families are encouraged to attend. Explore different types of aircraft with models presented by the Monroe County RC Club. Soar with a flight simulator. Design innovative paper planes and helicopters.
The event is also an opportunity for visitors to see and hear about aviation heroes from all over the human spectrum. “Piloting is an immensely male and caucasian-dominated field,” said Sarah Lynn Wells, WonderLab’s adult and secondary education specialist. Focusing on inclusion is a priority for WonderLab and for Wells, whose background is in engineering. According to Wells, the importance of representation within science fields cannot be overstated. “In fact,” said Wells, “finding other females who work in engineering helped encourage me to go into the field.”
About 93.1% of pilots and flight engineers are male in the United States, with 162,989 male and 12,238 female members of the field, according to the online source, Data USA. Likewise, 92.3% of pilots and engineers are caucasian, with 161,715 white members of the field. The next single racial demographic is African-Americans with 2,969 pilots and engineers. However, there is no hard scientific reason that white males should dominate the field, and WonderLab is committed to highlighting opportunities to every member of the community.
After exploring representation and the heroes of aviation, play with the physics behind movement and flight. There will be activities on topics such as thrust and Newton’s Laws of Motion where attendees can use a balloon rocket and calculate the force. Mess around with Bernoulli’s principle using ping pong balls, then wield cardboard rotors and straws to experiment with the helicopter rotor principle.
“In aviation it’s important to understand physics. Engineers have to know the physics of flight to design and test aircraft,” said Wells. “Pilots need to understand how to operate and control the machinery and what to expect from the aerodynamics. If you don’t know the physics, you don’t know how much fuel a particular flight will take or what manipulating the ailerons will do.”
The WonderLab Takes Flight event is free with admission to the museum and will take place on Saturday, November 10 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The event will be focused on middle schoolers and high schoolers, but will include activities for younger children and families as well.