Who’s Who and What’s What

Week 1

Come Fly with Me

cropped-quin-intro.jpgOne of the reasons I started this writing project is to share my flying adventures with friends at Burns Science and Technology School in Oak Hill, Florida.

I got to know the students there when I spoke to several classes during their annual Aviation Week in 2018. At that time I was just beginning my training to become a commercial pilot.

The students were very excited about aviation in general and had many great questions about my own personal experiences, but we ran out of time. When we parted, I promised to keep in touch; hopefully these digital posts will help.

To add to the fun, I will try to take with me, and photograph whenever possible, two miniature plush figures of their school mascot, the Bald Eagle.  I have named them “Sci” and “Tech” and you’ll meet them on the next slide.  We invite you to join us as I expand my skills as a commercial airline pilot and explore the world.

To create these posts, we used a basic engineering tool, the Engineering Design Process (EDP).

Sci & Tech say:  Learn more about . . .


Sci & Tech

Sci n TechSci – I’m one of the eagle twins who will be traveling with Quin. We represent the mascot of Burns Science and Technology School in Oak Hill, Florida. You can remember that I’m a female because my name “Sci” starts with an “s” just like the word “she.” I usually wear bright belts or necklaces. We will be helping Quin by adding fun facts and websites to explore.

Tech – I’m the other eagle twin. You can tell us apart because I usually wear a blue T-shirt with our school’s name on it. We have been invited to go with our human friend Quin as she follows her new career as a commercial airline pilot and travels the world. We hope you will join us in our new adventure. Look for our Sci/Tech Challenge messages at the end of Quin’s posts.


Burns Sci-Tech School

burns gym jul2019The school started life in 1929 as an elementary school in the small community of Oak Hill in Volusia County, Florida. For budget reasons it was closed by the county school board and scheduled to be demolished in 2009. The residents banded together and in 2010 the Oak Hill Community Trust bought the property and made plans to reopen it in 2011 as a public charter school with a focus on Science and Technology.

Today it has 63 faculty and staff serving 600 students in grades K-8.  For the last 5 years the school has earned a A rating from the state and in 2014 it also become an accredited STEM School; two years later it added the “A” for Arts to become a STEAM school. Currently there are plans to expand to the high school level.

Sci & Tech say:  Learn more about . . .

Take the Sci/Tech Challenge:

Using a drawing program, design  your own school. Share your creation by emailing a copy to muccij@burnsscitech.org.

The EDP – Engineering Design Process

edp_basicIn order to create this project, I worked the steps of this basic engineering tool, the EDP.

  • ASK: What is the problem? How have others approached it? What are your constraints?
  • IMAGINE: What are some solutions? Brainstorm ideas. Choose the best one.
  • PLAN: Draw a diagram. Make lists of materials you will need.
  • CREATE: Follow your plan and create something. Test it out!
  • IMPROVE: What works? What doesn’t? What could work better? Modify your design to make it better. Test it out!

Note that the EDP is a cycle—there’s no official start or end point. You can begin at any step, focus on just one step, move back and forth between steps, or repeat the cycle. For example, after you improve your design once, you may want to begin all over again to refine your technology. You can use the EDP again and again! Many times teams will work on different steps which will then become part of the problem solving circle.

Sci & Tech say:  Learn more about . . .

Take the Sci/Tech Challenge:

Next time you have to complete a big project for school, use the steps in the EDP to keep you on track and organized.


Applying the  Engineering Design Process

ASK:   What is the problem?

BST wanted me to share information about my flying adventures with the students at the school. However, I was working in another city, and could not get to the school to meet with them face-to-face.

How have others approached it?

Blogs, Email Blasts, Social Media (Facebook, Instagram, etc.), video or phone meetings Skype/Facetime, etc.)

What are your constraints?

Have no ads, be a school-friendly site, include both facts & fun stuff, allow for many photos, be set up so information in the posts could be easily stored and found if needed in the future.

IMAGINE: What are some solutions? Brainstorm ideas. Choose the best one.

I worked with a team of teachers, techies and pilots to gather and discuss different ideas.

PLAN: Draw a diagram. Make lists of materials you will need.

The team spent several weeks in the beginning setting goals, sharing ideas and and working out details. Some parts of the original plan were changed or added to as the project began to come to life. We made use of equipment and materials already on hand in the school.

CREATE: Follow your plan and create something. 

In the summer of 2019, the team created the first few posts. They would introduce me, tell about my early experiences with flying, and follow my training to become a private and then commercial pilot.  The plan was to add to the posts as I continued to fly and explore the world.

IMPROVE: What works? What doesn’t? What could work better? Modify your design to make it better. Test it out!

Over the coming year, as the BST students and teachers read and discuss the posts, they will be asked to share ideas to make the project better.  Also, the design team will look ways to make improvements.



8 cyclePlan  Students think of a solution to a problem using their own knowledge or experience.  They draw out their ideas on paper to help them work through each element and come up with a solid design. Later on these drawings are used to help students reflect on what they learned once they successfully complete the challenge.

Create  Students use critical thinking and problem-solving skills as they build a model of their own design using specified material. Teachers should encourage students to talk about their models and explain how they solved construction problems or created the unique features depicted in their design. The finished models should closely reflect the original drawings. If the design changed during the construction, students should revise their drawing to show the changes.

Test  This phase is where a majority of the learning occurs. Students get to test their ideas and see firsthand what does and doesn’t work. As they watch the tests unfold, students will identify new problems and start thinking about ways to solve them. For accurate results, each model must be tested the same way. Students can complete some tests on their own, but others may require teacher participation. After testing, students draw a picture and make notes of what happened

Ask  In the final phase, students analyze their test results and apply their new knowledge to think of possible solutions for the problems they encountered. Teachers can guide students by asking questions about what happened. It’s important to help students realize that failure is a natural and useful part of the design process. Encourage them to try again by returning to the plan phase to come up with a new testable idea.


Ice Cream & Airplanes

Quin with Dad's plane and ice cream coneFor some folks, owning and flying a small plane is much the same as enjoying boating or motorcycling as a hobby. It is not unusual to go flying just for fun for an hour or so to visit places of interest that are near airports, such as beaches, restaurants, parks, museums, etc.

Our  family loved to take short hops in our 1964 single engine Cherokee 160.  We would often go from our home airport in Burlington, WI (BUU) to the nearby airport in Watertown, WI (RYV) where there was an ice cream shop right next to the field.

The unique 3-letter set of initials in parenthesis attached to the end of the name of an airports above is the code that that been assigned to that particular airport. Each airport in the country has a different code even though there may be more than one airport in the same city.

You can see another small plane in the background. It is a popular model made by Cessna.  Notice that its wings are attached above the main body of the plane (referred to as a “high wing”), while our “low wing” Cherokee has the wing placement beneath the fuselage.

Sci & Tech say:  Learn more about . . .

Take the Sci/Tech Challenge:

Our normal cruise speed in the Cherokee 160 was about 115 miles per hour.  How long would it take for us to fly from our home to the ice cream shop?


Balloons, Backyards & Bucket Lists

Ballons & BackyardsSome of my earliest childhood memories are of flying and airplanes. I was fascinated with and surrounded by flying lore and flying things.

Hot air balloons would often take off or land in fields near my home in Wisconsin.  I hope to catch a ride in one someday. That is on my “Bucket List” of things to do during my life.

Some October, I would also like to attend the hot air balloon fiesta in Albuquerque, NM.  It attracts thousands of people and more than 500 hot air balloons. Recent technology has allowed designers to create shapes like cartoon characters, buildings and animals.

Sci & Tech say:  Learn more about . . .

Take the Sci/Tech Challenge:

  • With your teacher and/or friends work though these goal-setting activities to create some “Bucket List” activities of your own.
  • Take a look at one family’s ”Bucket List” and then make one with your family.