Flying Things


Learn about and model a flying machine

Grades 3-6

Our fascination with flying things,  manned flight and space exploration has a long history.  One of the  early myths has Daedalus, a Greek architect, building wings from wax and feathers to fly his son Icarus away from Crete, where he had been imprisoned by the King of Minos.  The myth tells us he got too close to the sun and the wax melted and he perished.

The first recorded flight was in 1783 when two Frenchmen took a hot air balloon 6000 ft. above Paris in a 22 minute flight.  During the Civil War both Union and Confederate forces used observation balloons to see what the other was up to.  The real revolution in flight began in 1903 with the Wright Brothers' famous Kitty Hawk flight.  Since then flying things have included zeppelins, rockets, jets, helicopters, and space vehicles.

The teacher should have the students search for websites that discuss flight.

The teacher should begin this activity with a class discussion of what the children know about flying machines and flight.

The students will construct a 3D scene of one aspect of flight, such as a hot air balloon or rocket device using GollyGee Blocks.

Students print out their scenes to use with other flight activities.

The teacher will evaluate scenes and class discussion based on fact and concept building around the flying things theme.  Questions like How do planes fly? What does lighter than air mean?  Should there be an atomic airplane? Why do astronauts need to be tethered to the space shuttle when space walking? Should be asked and students assessed on how they structure their answers.

Students should be assessed on how well they can replicate what they see in pictures about flying things.  Can they extrapolate their pictures to a conceptual flying vehicle?

The class can build a flight theme and construct a timeline using various scenes they have developed.

Students should develop a scene that describes a historical aviation event.

Animate a flight situation with a flipbook technique (e.g., rocket taking off, plane landing).

Using only two geometric shapes, construct a flying thing.

The tilt and turn tools will help students place objects in different positions.

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