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How-To: Get Started

Teach Your Class to Fly    Rosemary Shaw

Did you know that next year is the centennial of flight? On December 17, 1903, two brothers created the first powered flying machine?

To celebrate this amazing achievement, help your students to fly! 

You can do this in a number of ways. First use the Internet to research  flight. There are many sites out on the cyber highway, such as First Flight, NASA's History of Flight and there is even a narrative by Orville Wright.

Next, perhaps you can help your students understand the basics of aerodynamics. Our own Teacher's Network has a lesson Air Born,  that uses store bought  Styrofoam gliders (about $2.50 each). There are other sites that use paper airplanes to teach aerodynamics, such as this NASA site, . Teach-nology has a whole page dedicated to paper airplanes.

Do you remember how much you loved flying paper airplanes as a child? Things haven't changed, students still love it! 

Perhaps next, you can incorporate math into your flight, by having your students fly their airplanes and then measuring the distance. Compare and  contrast different types of planes. Record the information on MSExcel and  create graphs. Have students analyze the data they are collecting about their airplanes.

Then, to finish the project, you might have your students predict the future of  flight. 

If you prefer to join a project already in progress, you might want to look into Space Day. Space Day is an online educational  program, which is honoring the past 100 years of aviation and aerospace accomplishments while seeking to inspire the next generation of inventors,  innovators, aviators and dreamers with their design challenges. Students in grades 4-8 are invited to develop a solution for one of the following 

Design  Challenges: 

  • Fly to the Future - build a model aircraft of the future.
  • Planetary Explorers - design a model spacecraft that can fly on Earth as well as another planet or moon in our solar system.
  • Watt Power! - help save our planet's resources by developing a working model of  an aircraft that uses a renewable energy source

Now, help your students find their wings and fly!


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