Education Technology

The math and science of gaining altitude

Put your students at the controls of an intercontinental airliner with STEM on the Fly, a STEM Behind Cool Careers activity that cruises through the math and science of aviation.

This activity is a fun way to challenge students to develop their problem-solving and analytical skills as they apply:

  • Linear relationships
  • Bernoulli's Principle
  • Newton's third law of motion

Alex Livingston, a sophomore at Tech Valley High School in Albany, New York, and winner of the 2017 #GenSTEM photo contest, visited with Capt. Adam Schindall, a pilot with Southwest Airlines, to explore the STEM behind the cool, high-flying career of a commercial pilot.

Prepare your students for takeoff by sharing the fun video as an introduction to the activity.

Watch video

Alex Livingston’s ambition to become a commercial pilot got a fun lift when he won the #GenSTEM photo contest from TI.

As part of his prize for winning the contest, the aspiring pilot traveled to Dallas where he got a behind-the-scenes tour and time with Southwest Airlines pilot Capt. Adam Schindall to learn what it takes to become a professional aviator.

Capt. Schindall, a 25-year veteran pilot, says like many students he struggled with understanding the importance of learning math when he was in junior high — but now uses that same math to succeed in his career.

“Solving for X? What in the world would I ever need to know that for?” he says, adding: “Pilots do that every day, all day.”

Capt. Schindall, who provided expert insight for this classroom activity, hopes to help students get excited about learning math and science, and inspired to pursue STEM careers like aviation.

Alex, who has already logged 25 flight hours in single-engine and glider aircraft, is on the path to success in a very cool career.

Texas Instruments software for Mac® and PC

TI Connect™ CE software application for the TI-84 Plus family

Free software for downloading and installing the activity file.


TI-Nspire™ CX and TI-Nspire™ CX CAS Teacher Software

Download a free, 90-day trial version now.


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