Full STEAM Ahead

Aviation Education & Tour Programs: 1st Place

Full STEAM Ahead is an interactive project of San Diego Airport’s Aviation Education Program, which engages the STEAM Curriculum Emphasis for Innovation (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) in a real world airport situation. Students saw how STEAM subject expertise was needed and used to build an airport through hands-on projects with construction and design professionals. Schedule included: perspective lesson on paper; “building” with modeling software; exploring the construction site; interview luncheon with employees for one-on-one discussions and questions.

Entry Statement

Project Goals:

  • Engage a minimum of 20 students in specific interactive tasks which employ science, technology, engineering, art and design, and math. 
  • Demonstrate at least 5 unique aviation-related career paths to the students that represent STEAM.
  • Engage at least 3 employees to demonstrate how STEAM curriculum relates to their jobs.
  • Don’t exceed $1,000 budget.


  • Students were selected from the region by the local YMCA and bussed to the airport.
  • Staffing, excluding YMCA counselors, were completely in-house airport employees.
  • Locations used were all on-site actual airport construction offices and sites.
  • Aviation Education employees coordinated airport staff to develop STEAM activities and logistics.
  • BIM Building Information modeling (interactive building software that shows structural changes and allows viewers to virtually tour a building) was altered to include animated cartoon characters.
  • Besides staff time, the only expenses were the purchase of specially sized hardhats, (which the students were allowed to keep) and interview luncheon pizza and drinks.


  • We exceeded all goals: 27 students participated. At least 12 aviation careers were specifically discussed. 16 employees participated. The program came in under-budget by $310—a 31% savings.
  • 24 students and 3 teenage counselors were exposed to unique aviation jobs and learned the importance of studying STEAM subjects to prepare for those careers.
  • Students participated in hands-on projects, including computer modeling (technology, science, math & engineering), perspective analysis (math & engineering), and aviation crafts (art & design).
  • “Offfice” jobs, such as architect, engineer, software technician, airport design director, construction manager, real estate manager, safety director, environmental specialist, Inspector, etc. were discussed. In addition, on the site tour they viewed onsite workers, including bulldozer drivers, contractors with blueprints, welders, pipefitters, etc.


  • Hardhats were $12.95 each. 27 were purchased, for a total cost of $349.
  • Pizza and refreshments for 44+ people (students + adults) was $341.
  • Total cost: $690, coming in under budget 31%.