Students Lift Off to Learn

About twenty third, fourth and fifth graders from Stout Elementary had a unique experience this morning. As part of a transportation unit, students and accompanying staff had the chance to fly in a small Cessna at Billard Airport. Pilot Dean Forbes works for the Kansas Air Center as a flight instructor and agreed to take the students up two at a time with one adult each trip. 
Pilot Forbes and students Jordan Rainer and Gerald Mann.

The first students to go up were third graders Jordan Rainer and Gerald Mann. TPS speech/language pathologist Melissa Hulsing was the first adult passenger to take off. “It’s wonderful up there,” says Hulsing. “Gerald got to experience controlling the plane and Jordan sat in the back with a big smile on his face. It was my first time up in a small plane and I would do it again!”

The activity was funded through an educational grant provided by the Topeka Public Schools Foundation. TPS speech/language pathologists Melissa Hulsing and Diana Zimmerman requested the funds in order to provide an enrichment activity for students, allowing them to venture outside the school environment to apply knowledge related to transportation they acquired in the classroom. For the past few months, students have been studying different types of transportation and learning vocabulary related to transportation. The culminating activities for this unit of study included the trip to Billard Airport, a trip to the Great Overland Station and a bus ride with Topeka Metro.
Student Jeshua Mills prepares to exit the plane.

To finish the project, students will put together a scrap book. They will reflect upon and write about their experiences. Stout fifth grader Jeshua Mills said the best part about the flight was “looking down at all the cars. They looked like toys.” Said Mills, “It was fun, I want to do it again!”

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