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Ideas for integrating technology education into everyday learning.

Unlike Superman, we mere mortals are not endowed with the power of flight--but that hasn't stopped us yet! From Kitty Hawk to the Space Shuttles and beyond, our ever-evolving advances in aeronautic engineering have expanded our horizons and allowed us to fly! Now, it's time to give your students their wings. Try the aerodynamic activities below and take them ... Up, up, and away!

language arts

* Read the book Magic School Bus Takes Flight by Gail Herman and Joanna Cole or watch the video online at cgi-bin/search/linfo.cgi?id=16163. This exciting animated story introduces your students to the basics of flight. After the story, brainstorm the different factors involved in flight--size, shape, weight, speed, gravity, drag (friction with the air). Then give your students a sheet of paper with the mission of engineering and testing a shape that can fly. Discuss observations. Eventually, you can introduce a simple paper airplane design. Encourage more testing and modifications in shape, size, and weight (paper clips). You can even set up a distance or target competition--http://library. airplane designs).



* Design and build straw rockets. Use plastic drinking straws, modeling clay for the nose cone, and card stock for fins. Design variables can be: size of straw (rocket body), weight (nose cone size), fin size, shape, quantity (rocket control). * Teacher Only Note: The straw rockets actually fly better without any fins; however, experimenting with the fins is crucial to understanding the effects of drag and aerodynamic design.

* Track and record distance and launch angle data for each test. Record at least three tests and average the results. Graph all test results and discuss. Calculate the class's average distance. Analyze the results. Can they find connections between launch angles and distances?


* Learn more about How Things Fly and Aerodynamic Design:

* technology/transportation/ flight/preview.weml and www. NEWHTF/HTF050.HTM

* Aerodynamic Design--http:// activities/flight/wright/build. htm; http://library.thinkquest. org/J002313F/(paper airplane designs); and www.flightgear. org (flight simulator).

* Prove that Sir Isaac was right-become a rocket scientist--for real! Design, build, and launch solid fuel rockets, seltzer, and pop-bottle/ water rockets. Experiment with variables such as fin size and shape, nose cones, rocket weight, amounts of "propellant" (H20 and air pressure, H20 and seltzer) Review Newton's Laws of Motion with Legos[TM] watch?v=NWE_aGqfUDs



* How did Columbus use aerodynamics to reach the New World--in a boat? Have your students engineer sails using card stock paper, foil, fabric, plastic, etc. You can also refine your focus to design shape, size, and position by limiting your material to only card stock. Tape your sails to a drinking straw--your mast. Your ships can be flat-bottomed cardstock skimmers, or shaped blocks of Styrofoam. Using fans, "sail" your skimmers on a table. OR ... attach two straws to the underside of a tag board "hull" with a paperclip vertically secured to the middle of the "hull" for the mast mount. String fishing line through each straw, stretch across the room, and tie tight so that the hull easily glides when blown by the fan. Make two if you want a sail race!


social studies

* Explore the history of flight using a StudentSite/historyofflight.html; and exhibits/treasures/wb-timeline.html

* Brainstorm how flight technology has changed our world--socially and environmentally. Students can then create new future-flight designs and discuss the impacts that their designs could make.

* What's next? The era of the space shuttle is coming to an end. Explore the new, reusable spacecraft designs currently in the works, and have your students design their own! www. flyout/and vehicles/designs.shtml


* All activities can be modified according to grade level.

Krista Jones is a teacher of elementary technology education, Grades P-5, at Bellevue Elementary School, Bellevue, Idaho. She can be reached via email at
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Title Annotation:TECHNO TIPS
Author:Jones, Krista
Publication:Children's Technology and Engineering
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 1, 2010
Previous Article:Aerospace engineering.
Next Article:Environmental engineering: protecting our planet.

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