“Cleared for Takeoff: Engineering Bright Futures Through STEM” is Giorgi’s winning program aimed at empowering students at Lino Lakes Elementary to develop unique solutions to open-ended engineering challenges. It pairs the highly motivating subject of flight with hands-on engineering challenges to engage students in a problem-based approach to learning that focuses on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The teams will receive regular consultation with experts from NASA (via videoconference) and Aviation Education (AVED) instructors from the Minnesota Department of Transportation to gain knowledge and seek feedback as they engineer solutions to challenges of increasing complexity and with varying criteria and constraints. Collaboration with an authentic team of experts will also give them a realistic and real-world problem solving experience. Teams then will present their challenges’ solutions to the school during periodic school wide “air shows”. Additionally, the project integrates the learning of science, technology, engineering and math, showing how they’re related versus how they are unrelated. Giorgi, who lives in Forest Lake, says all sixth-grade students will benefit from this project through their participation.