S.T.E.M. Class Visit Kalamazoo Air Zoo

View of the Kalamazoo Air Zoo

Air Zoo Trip Takes Student Learning to New Heights

Onekama Students Travel to Kalamazoo Air Zoo


Thirty-five students from Onekama Middle School made the trip to Kalamazoo on Tuesday to explore the Kalamazoo Air Zoo interactive museum.


The field trip was the culmination of the students’ nine-week exploratory STEM class. Taught by Kelly Kelley, the quarter-long class meets daily and is offered to all middle school students.


According to Kelley, “S.T.E.M. class offers an innovative approach to learning in which students use problem solving skills to tackle hands-on learning activities. Skills in this course will improve critical thinking skills and will propel students toward a successful career in the S.T.E.M. fields.”


In class, students are asked to plan and execute projects individually and as members of a group, and then are required to reflect on their learning process and outcomes.


At the end of each quarter’s STEM experience, Kelley takes students to Kalamazoo, Michigan, for a visit to the Kalamazoo Air Zoo. During the field trip, students attended a “Flight School Science” program as well as an “Aerospace through the Ages” tour.


The Flight School Science program allowed students to explore the science and history of flight through a hands-on learning experience. Additionally, students cooperatively built and tested roller coasters using engineering principles in a classroom environment.  


Onekama sixth grade student Leah Gary commented, “The flight similar was the best part. It seemed real! When I turned the controls, I was able to feel like I was upside down, sideways, and truly flying.”


Added student Veronica Sidor, “I enjoyed building a roller coaster, and using information about acceleration and velocity in my design. We worked together in teams, and we were able to use what we learned in STEM class in a new way.”

Onekama students Jayla Howerton, Jayla Fink, Jayden Johnson, and Veronica Sidor work together to build a
roller coaster at the Kalamazoo Air Zoo.
 Learning takes flight for seventh grader Libby McCarthy
and sixth grader Leah Gary Students during the aerospace field trip.