NASA has released a new educational game with an air traffic control theme for Apple iPhone and iPad devices. Sector 33 is designed to challenge students in middle school and above to use basic math and problem-solving skills.
An Android version of the app is in development and will be made available in the Android Marketplace in the coming months.
Visit Sector 33 for more information or to download the application free of charge.
As students in NASA Explorer Schools educator Kaci Heins’ class worked through the Smart Skies NES module, she thought it would be amazing if she could take a field trip out to her local airport to see air traffic controllers in action. Heins arranged for her students to go up inside the air traffic control tower, talk to the controllers, and see the planes take off and land. The students learned how the controllers keep the passengers and the planes safe. They also visited the airport fire station where the students saw the trucks, tried on the fire gear, and saw the truck spray water across the tarmac. Heins reports, “It was one of the best field trips I have ever done and the students loved every second of it! It is experiences like these that can make the biggest impact on our students. I hope you can try to work something out like this in your area!”
Read through Heins’ article in NEON to see pictures and learn how her involvement with the Civil Air Patrol was incorporated into the field trip.
Link to the NES Virtual Campus home page.
If you’re looking for ways to extend the Smart Skies: Line Up With Math module on the NASA Explorer Schools Virtual Campus, check this out. It’s one of many ideas that make the unit come alive.
Students in NES educator Joan Labay-Marquez’s Math Club at Curington Elementary School apply math to real-life problems, seeking the best solution among several possibilities. They defend their choices and explain how they arrived at their solutions. Building on the materials from the NASA Explorer School content module, Smart Skies: Line Up With Math, the students are required to create their own interactive story of an air traffic controller in either an animation or online game.
Read more about other extension activities, exciting uses of educational technology, and the variety of resources Labay-Marquez incorporated into the Air Traffic Control Challenge in her detailed article in NEON. You’ll also find files provided by Labay-Marquez for you to download and use with your students.
In this episode of NASA Now, you’ll meet aerospace engineer Aisha Bowe, who is helping NASA solve this complex problem. Learn why there is no perfectly designed system and all technological solutions have trade-offs, such as safety, cost or efficiency. Learn about the types of conflicts aircraft encounter and how engineers use trade-offs to come up with the best overall solution.