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Thirteen Ed Online
Lesson Plans
Up, Up, and Away
Overview Procedures for Teachers Organizers for Students

This activity allows students to investigate and apply the laws of physics that govern the flight of helicopters and airplanes. Students build and launch a model rotor, simulating rotors used on helicopters to provide lift. Students then collect, share, and analyze data about the flight of their rotors.

This "hands-on" activity integrates key math, science, and technology-education ideas found in state and national standards. It provides students with an opportunity for hands-on learning by doing.

Grade Level:


Subject Matter:

Technology Education, Math, Science, Computer Science

Curricular Uses:

Forces, Aerospace Technology, Graphing, Computer Applications

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:

  • Use tools, processes, and information to construct a model rotor.
  • Discuss the forces acting on things that fly.
  • Discuss Bernoulli's Principle.
  • Discuss Newton's Action/Reaction Law.
  • Test their model rotor.
  • Gather data about their rotorís performance.
  • Create a simple spreadsheet and chart.
  • Analyze the class's data on rotor performance.
  • Explain why some rotors performed better than others.

Use of Internet:

Students will use the Internet to conduct Web research about flight technology and the application of scientific laws that make flight possible.

This lesson was developed by Neal Swernofsky, wNetSchool Master Teacher, and was funded by the Louis Calder Foundation.