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The Air Force One Discovery Center
At the
Ronald Reagan Presidential Library

Summary:
The Air Force One Discovery Center will be a dynamic, hands-on educational experience located within the new Air Force One Pavilion at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum Through the development of innovative programs and simulations that engage participants in active learning, the Discovery Center promotes exploration of the presidential decision-making process.
Dedicated to enriching the lives of students by encouraging the development of analytical and leadership skills as well as teamwork, the Discovery Center will engage young people in creative, unique, and inventive educational modules using techniques such as role play, and simulation of actual historical events.

Vision: The E3 Plan - Engage, Excite, and Educate
In today's world is it possible to engage students enough to excite them about learning? At The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum the answer is a resounding yes! Capturing the students' attention, involving them in history and providing a memorable learning experience, is at the heart of our E3 approach to education.
Using the unique resources available only at the Reagan Library, we are producing an educational adventure unlike anywhere in the country. By recreating an immersive, presidential environment, students will focus on the responsibilities and challenges faced by the President of the United States.

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Goals:
For the Student:

  • Provide an enriching and thought provoking learning experience.
  • Motivate them to explore the office of the presidency from historical as well as a contemporary perspective.
  • Engage them in high level decision-making.
  • Promote team building.
  • Encourage them to pursue additional insight into the office of the American Presidency and further their study of history.
  • Leave the student wanting to come back and learn more.

For the Teacher:

  • Provide creative educational opportunities that are content-based and standards driven.
  • Offer a well prepared, comprehensive, self contained program.
  • Provide a way to motivate students.
  • Use as a stepping stone for future classroom discussions.

Implementation:
At the heart of the Discovery Center's experiential visit will be four interactive, intricately built sets (education modules) that are designed to capture students' imaginations and immerse them in real life presidential events. They include:

  • A Boeing 707 Air Force One flight simulator that will allow students to take off and land the plane as the pilot, co-pilot and flight engineer.
  • A replica Oval Office where students can work at the president's desk, conduct high level meetings and experience a true sense of what it is like working in the most important office in the world.
  • A high-tech recreation of the Command Center aboard the USS Ronald Reagan including software simulation packages that will test the students' skills in real life scenarios.
  • A replica of the White House press room that doubles as a television studio complete with green-screen technology and broadcast quality cameras.

Pivotal historical and contemporary moments in the American presidency will be recreated in the themed sets for students as they learn what it is like to be in the seat of power. Each student will be assigned a key role and high level position as they navigate through a historical presidential challenge. They will have the opportunity to role play as the president, the president's chief 0 f staff, member of the cabinet, press secretary, Air Force One pilot, or reporters in a real life presidential event.

In the simulator the students can literally take control of Air Force One. For example, they can fly the presidential aircraft into West Berlin Tempelhof Airport to deliver President Reagan for his dramatic "Tear Down the Wall" speech at the Brandenburg Gate. While the student pilots are learning to fly Air Force One, back in the president's cabin and senior staff room, other students are engaged in historical scenarios.

In the Oval Office they will assume the roles of the president and his advisors to grapple with critical issues and situations. Students will engage in debate and discussion of important historical and contemporary issues and events such as national disaster operations, relations with Congress, federal power and states' rights, and military missions.

After engaging in thought provoking and stimulating educational simulations, students "board" the most technologically advanced naval vessel in the world today, the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan. Here, in a replica of the Command Center aboard the Reagan, students will get briefed by the Commander in Chief about an important mission to one of the current hot spots in the world (ever changing and up-to-date). Adding a true sense of reality, students in cooperation with the United States Navy, will have real-time communication with the commanding officer aboard the Reagan. By engaging in accurate historical and contemporary simulations, students will grapple the effects of the decisions made by the Commander in Chief.

To culminate the Discovery Center activities, students will create and/or present a presidential speech in the White House press room/television studio. Depending upon the simulation exercise, different backdrops will be provided for the student's speech. Some backdrops may include the Brandeburg Gate, Point du Hoc, The White House Rose Garden, House of Commons, The Capitol, or The East Room of the White House. Students will actually have the opportunity to recreate a contemporary presidential speech-making experience by reading their speech from a teleprompter. Some students will also have the opportunity to take notes on the speech and ask pertinent questions of the president as if they were a member of the White House Press Corps. In order to create lasting memories and share the experience with their families and peers, the student-acted presidential speeches will be digitally recorded on a DVD and given to the student.

At the conclusion of the Discovery Center journey, educators may discuss and explore the significance of the events experienced first-hand by students and the role the president plays in shaping public policy and world events.

All Discovery Center K-12 educational services are designed to reinforce the concepts identified in the California Department of Education's subject frameworks as well as national educational standards.

Additional Educational Opportunities:
In addition to the Discovery Center experience, students are encouraged to learn further about the American presidency by exploring the many exhibits within the museum and on our 100 acre campus. Features include a full size replica of the Oval Office, the Camp David exhibit, a piece of the Berlin Wall, a retired F-14 Tomcat, and in the Gallery of Presidents an 1823 Copy of the Declaration of Independence and an original letter signed by George Washington to his secretary of war.
For the more advanced student, the Library features a full professional research room where the student can use primary source documents for their research project. The Library contains over 55 million documents relating to Ronald Reagan's presidency. A full time staff of archivists is there to assist students on their projects.

     
 
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