I believe I can fly….at least with the help of iFLY

I remember the first time that I saw Superman flying on the big screen I was in awe. It was pretty cool seeing this man flying around through the air like it was nothing and I wanted to do that.  When I was older I saw the movie Point Break and I remember the skydiving scenes and again I wanted to do that. Just like Superman it was pretty cool to see these guys doing these aerial acrobatics while they fell from a perfectly good plane.

So, flying like Superman and skydiving became two things that I wanted to do in my life and we all know that a human can not fly….so far. This just left me with skydiving.  The question is: Do I really want to jump from a plane and plummet to the sky? I know many people do it all the time, but having children makes me really think twice about doing that.

Luckily, there is a place where I can fulfill my dreams of doing both: flying and skydiving, without fearing for my life and that place is iFLY in Rosemont, IL.

Being a blogger has given me a lot of great opportunities. I try to share these opportunities whenever they come by and I feel they will be beneficial to my other friends in the blogging community or friends in general. When I was asked to come and watch a STEM class using the wind tunnel at iFLY I reached out to my teacher friends and asked them to join me in seeing Math and Science taught in this unique environment.

I contacted a few teachers I know and one of the teachers that got back to me was an old friend who teaches at Waters Elementary school.  After a few phone calls and emails he was able to get permission to attend the class with me with a fellow teacher.

So it was all set and on an early Friday morning I was accompanied by Mr. Gil and Mr. Raman and we went to watch this STEM class first hand. When we arrived at iFLY we checked in and watched as a local high school was preparing to take the class.

The class was taught by Michelle Mankiewicz, who herself is a former educator and she informed me that this program was created as a way to get more use of the wind tunnels during their off season. The students are taught a curriculum that is modified for their grade level and works in par with the teacher.

So what does that mean? When the class trip is set up, iFLY talks with the teachers to create the lesson and that lesson is taught in the classroom and then continues at the iFly center.  The students will go over some of the lesson with the iFLY instructor and then see some demonstrations inside the wind tunnel.

Here’s the official word from them:

“During field trips to iFLY, students experience the vertical wind tunnel as both a classroom and laboratory to learn about the science and math behind flight. The hands-on experience culminates with each student taking flight and learning how the principles of physics and math apply to the world around them.”

Items used in the wind tunnel

Teddy flying high in the air

Water in the wind tunnel

After the demonstration, the students are broken into groups and one group experiences flight inside the wind tunnel while the other students are working cooperatively on exercises and worksheets until it is their turn.

If math and science was taught like this when I was in school I would look forward to it everyday.  This was such a great experience for the students and it was interesting to see them figure out how much air pressure was needed to make certain objects fly.  Yeah, it was fun watching these young minds at work, but what was even more incredible was getting a chance to get inside the tunnel itself.

You mean we’re going to fly up there!?

Having fun in the wind tunnel

Being inside and experiencing the wind tunnel was fantastic! At first I was a little nervous, but once inside it was hard not to smile as the wind made you float in the air and bounce around the walls. The instructor we had, Miguel Roa, was extremely cool and for some reason thought I could walk in the tunnel (watch the videos below to see what I mean).  I tried my best and think I did pretty good.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention the extra takeaways. Not only do students get the awesome experience of floating around they also get to take home a picture of themselves in the tunnel and for a few dollars more a digital video of their flight emailed to them.

Check out videos of me in the wind tunnel here and here 

As we walked out, the teachers from Waters Elementary were already planning their field trip to take place during the Spring. I would love to be in the room when their teachers show them the videos of them flying around. I really think this will be a great learning tool for the teachers and who knows, maybe it will become an annual thing for the school.

Later that night when I showed my daughter the videos of me bouncing around the walls like a fool, she asked me if i had fun flying in there. I looked at her and with a big smile told her “Yes! Yes it was a lot of fun.”

Flying and skydiving just got crossed off my to do list.

Thanks for reading.

(Disclaimer: The Fandads were invited to experience iFLY’s STEM Class. All words and opinions are our own.) 

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