Archive | November, 2012

Guest Blogger 2013: Judy Rice, Executive Director of Fly to Learn

13 Nov

I was delighted to have received a call from Larry Pintacuda, FAN CEO!  Larry shared with me Florida Afterschool Network’s (FAN)  two major focus for the promotion of STEM curricula and activities into afterschool programs.  Visiting the FAN web site exudes the ‘ah-ah’ moments of excitement produced by afterschool programs.

Perfect!  Fly To Learn, Powered by X-Plane, Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) education through aviation!

Students learn STEM skills through the design, construction, flight, and performance evaluation of their own realistic virtual airplanes, engaging in academically rigorous material that is not only fun to learn, but easy for educators to impart.  Fly To Learn is an inquiry-based, flexible afterschool educational instrument that enriches the learning environment for educators and students at all levels.

The program provides instructors and students a unique, cost-effective, results-driven tool designed to increase dedication to STEM education and to improve effective implementation of STEM concepts.  Fly to Learn meets and exceeds the National Science Teacher Association (NSTA) curriculum of standards for science education.

In addition, participating educators and students are eligible to enter an exciting annual virtual event where Fly To Learn teams use what they learn in the program to design, build and fly an aircraft delivering the maximum payload as quickly and efficiently as possible.  The winning team will receive international recognition as the 2013 Fly To Learn inaugural Team.  The educator will be award an engraved iPad with X-Plane 10 and a beautiful engraved plaque; and each student will receive a trophy recognizing their accomplishments

FAN staff and audience know, there is no greater time for our Nation to focus on STEM education, especially before, after, and out of school.  For exciting, STEM, real world application visit  or contact Fly To Learn Executive Director, Judy Rice at



Guest Blogger 2012: Shelley Puckett from the Science Center of Pinellas

1 Nov

As you know, one of the two areas of major focus for the Florida Afterschool Network is the promotion of STEM curricula and activities into afterschool programs. We believe that quality afterschool programs offer a perfect setting for kids to get excited about science, math, engineering and technology.

On Monday October 29th, I (Larry Pintacuda, FAN CEO) had the good fortune to visit the Science Center of Pinellas County. I was astounded by the breath and knowledge of the staff and their commitment to helping kids get an appreciation for the sciences. So impressed that I asked Shelly Puckett, Director of Business Development for the Center to do a guest blog. It is my pleasure to introduce Shelly Puckett.

“There has never been a greater time for our Nation to focus on STEM education especially before/after/out of school.  The Science Center of Pinellas has been educating, exciting and engaging students with hands on programs for over 53 years.

Students in grades K-12 experience the “ah ha” moment of excitement with programs that include:  Rocketry, Lego Robotics, CSI Forensics, Mouse Trap Mechanics, Weather, Petrology and much more.  After school and during the summer, students participate in programs that provide a real world application in science, technology, engineering and math.  The center has also built relationships with local organizations who provide industry experts as guest speakers to our students in the fields of engineering, technology, medical, forensics, manufacturing and more.

Giving these students an opportunity to apply STEM in real world environments will encourage confidence in these disciplines, creating that “ah ha” moment.”

For more information on the Science Center of Pinellas County, please visit