BRIDGEPORT - Training at the Robert C. Byrd Institute for Advance Flexible Manufacturing (RCBI) will help dozens of teachers from across West Virginia provide exciting math and science lessons to their students. The classroom lessons are designed to encourage students to consider career opportunities in this exciting industry, particularly jobs in aviation, aerospace and advanced composite materials.
More than three dozen teachers attended a special session March 9 to learn how to use NASA's "Museum in a Box." The event was made possible by support from the NASA WV Space Grant Consortium.
According to NASA, Museum in a Box provides hands-on/minds-on lessons with an aeronautics theme to inspire future scientists, mathematicians and engineers. The program is designed to enable teachers to introduce composite technology in the classroom.
All lessons are tied to national STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) topics, and geared for students of all ages - from kindergarten through the 12th grade.
Kathleen Prusa of Philippi Middle School and Kathryn Conti of Philip Barbour High School were among those who attended the training session. They will now be able to incorporate the NASA lessons in the curriculum for Barbour County students.
While at RCBI's Bridgeport Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center, teachers also toured the co-located RCBI Composites Technology & Training Center, which serves as West Virginia's National Composite Center of Excellence, to see how the classroom lessons prepare the workers of tomorrow.
"RCBI is excited to bring this outstanding NASA program to teachers and students across West Virginia," said Charlotte Weber, director and CEO of RCBI. "Math and science skills are a critical part of training for today's jobs and are becoming even more essential for tomorrow's jobs. RCBI already works with employers, workers and student groups at our statewide centers in Huntington, Charleston, Bridgeport and Rocket Center, and this partnership will expand training programs to classrooms in many school systems."
The Museum in a Box program uses flight and space exploration to teach physical sciences to students of all ages. Lessons cover topics such as the mechanics of movement, inventors, the parts of an airplane, principles of flight, propulsion and the structures and materials required for space travel.
"It's easy to see students' faces light up at the sight of an astronaut or a rocket ship," Weber said. "They're immediately eager to learn more."
RCBI encourages job creation, economic development, innovation and entrepreneurship by supporting manufacturing companies of all sizes.
RCBI offers leading-edge equipment for leased use and delivers specialized training for everyone from individuals and sole proprietors to Fortune 500 companies.
RCBI's goal is to use advanced manufacturing technology to provide the resources that companies and individuals need to create, sustain and expand their businesses and opportunities.
For more information, call 800-469-RCBI (7224) or visit www.rcbi.org.
To learn more about NASA's Museum in a Box program, see www.aeronautics.nasa.gov/mib.htm.