The Aerodynamics Forces of Flight Module

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Day 1: Introduction

Here is the problem statement we have to work on:

As you go through the various hands-on activities, think about the following questions: What makes an airplane fly? How does aircraft design affect an airplane's performance in the air? What is the impact on the airplane's flight if parts of the engine begin to malfunction?

Here are some activities that can help you tackle this problem:

Activities in Social Studies  -  Writing a log about aviation and aeronautics - Activities using your artistic talents  - Make your own Glider

Activities in Social studies

Conduct some research (in groups or individually) on an early aviator or flying machine, and share what you learn with the class. You can use books, flying magazines, museums, videos, or the Internet. (See the list of resources for help getting started.)

Find a poem about flying or aviation (e.g., "High Flight" by John Gillespie McGee, Jr.) Pass out copies of the poem to the class, and share what you learn about what inspired the poet to write the poem.

Interview someone who has a private pilot's license. You can locate the person (perhaps by calling an airport, or searching the world wide web for pilot home pages). You can interview the person by phone, email, or by inviting the pilot to visit your class and ask how s/he got a license, why, and what it's like to fly. This can be an individual or group activity.

Collect early myths of flight. Choose a myth, read about it, illustrate it, or write your own. Or choose a country and find out about that people's myths of flight.

Choose a pre-World War I flying machine of any type. Why did it work or not? Explain how the design of the machine affects lift.

Do a biographical sketch of Bernoulli.

Read biographical novels or fiction about aviators. Talk about this in your class. Compare what you read there with what you are learning about principles of flight.

Writing a log about aviation and aeronautics

You can begin writing a log by observing everything around you that flies: birds, airplanes, insects, helicopters. Write down each one that you see, what it is, where you see it, at what height it appeared to be. You can create two columns; in one column you can write your observations and in the other your feelings/emotions/interpretations.

After you finish your observations, write down everything that you think these flying objects have in common.

Activities using your artistic talents

Draw birds or other creatures or objects that fly. Draw the parts that provide lift clearly, and use these illustrations to explain lift.

Collect stamps of people significant to aviation. Talk about your collection in class.