Throughout our curriculum at Powhatan, teachers often bring in experts in various fields to spark enthusiasm, inspire students to think beyond the classroom, and show that we truly do learn not for school, but for life. This year in science classes, we have had visiting physicians, electricians from Rappahannock Electric, biologists and conservationists from Trout Unlimited, the Virginia department of forestry, and NRCS, among others.

A recent visitor added a powerful real-world connection to our physics of flight unit in 5th grade. Dr. Nelson is on the US National Soaring Team, and earned his glider pilot license when he was only 14. With Coach Sarah Nelson’s help, he set up his glider on campus and encouraged each student to sit in it, try the controls, and see just how to move the ailerons, elevators, and rudder. As he shared his obvious passion for the sport that has been a family tradition, students were thrilled to handle the parachute passed down from his father, hear stories of the world Championships where he competed early this year, and begin to understand how a glider can achieve lift and fly great distances without an engine.  It was a wonderful experience for students, who left class that day marveling at how cool the glider was, how exciting it would be to fly it, and how the design of the plane really made sense.

A big thank you to Dr. Nelson and to all of the visiting professionals we call on to bring subject matter to life for our students. Your connections to the real world are inspiring, and make a big difference to the way students learn and grow in their understanding of the world around them.  

~Ms. Coutts, Lower School Science Teacher