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Air Born

Air Born Ed Clement

  • For kids in 5th through 12th grade.

  • Build math, computer and science skills .

  • Show kids that math, computers and science can be useful and interesting.

YOUR STUDENTS CAN MAKE WINGS THAT PRODUCE ENOUGH LIFT TO FLY A HAND HELD STYROFOAM GLIDER 

BASIC STEPS

1. Purchase some cheap hand held Styrofoam gliders from a toy or hobby store. (The ones I use are about $2.50 each and I buy them from TOYS-R-US with grant money. See my How To on grant writing on this site for grant writing tips.)


2. Remove the wings from the purchased fuselage leaving tail section then give one to each student or student group. (In my class this is a cooperative group activity.)


3. Use math skills and real sail plane data to determine a ratio of fuselage length to wing length. (I got my sail plane data at the library but it can also be found on the internet. Just use the search word "sail plane.")


4. Use math and ratio skills to determine some possible wing lengths for the Styrofoam fuselage you got at the store. (The  Styrofoam fuselage I use are 17.5 inches long and the wing length can be any where from 15 to 20 inches long. I let my students use a calculator for this activity.) 


5. Purchase blocks of Styrofoam thick enough, wide enough and long enough to fit into the wing holes of the Styrofoam fuselage you purchased. (I buy my Styrofoam at a hardware store called Paxton/Patterson here in Chicago, but it can also be purchased at Home Depot, Menards and selected lumber yards. It costs me about $5 for a 3 foot by 1 foot by 1.5 inch sheet of blue foam and that will make enough wings for about three planes. I also purchase the foam with grant money.)

6. Determine the wing silhouette of a lift producing wing. (Some research and experiments on wing design are needed. See my lesson on wing lift, on this web site, for some classroom lessons on determining wing designs that will produce lift. 


7. Make paper silhouettes of both ends of the wing you want to make. (This can also be done using a computer program like Compufoil, which I purchased with grant money. To find out more about the Compufoil computer program I use, point your browser to www.compufoil.com

7. Tape the paper silhouettes on the ends of the Styrofoam and cut out the Styrofoam wing. (This can be done with an exacto knife, and students should then sand the surface with sand paper. You can also use a hot wire cutter like I purchased with grant money. Point your browser to www.compufoil.com for more information on hot wire cutters.) 

8. After cutting out the wing, glue it into fuselage hole and fly it. (I have a fly off competition at the end of the year to determine which plane will fly the farthest. Since the planes are hand tossed it is skill as well as design that will determine the winner. This makes for a very interesting and exciting competition.)

Needs List

SIMPLE HIGH TECH
  • Sheets of Styrofoam
  • Styrofoam Fuselage
  • Exacto knife
  • Glue
  • Sheets of Styrofoam
  • Styrofoam Fuselage
  • Hot wire cutter· wing making computer program
  • Graphing calculator (I use texas instruments TI-83)· Computer 

 

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