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Grades 6-8


This lesson introduces students to two of the four principles of flight: drag and thrust. The students need to already have participated in lesson one on lift and weight and have been introduced to the steps in writing lab reports using the scientific method: Purpose, Research, Hypothesis, Procedure, Analysis and Conclusions.
ITV Series
Look Up, Number 1, Birds Can Fly, Why Can't I?
Look Up, Number 3, Airplanes.
Learning Objectives
After completing this lesson the students should be able to identify and demonstrate the two forces of flight: drag and thrust.
For each pair of students have
For the whole class you need
Focus Viewing
The focus for viewing is a specific responsibility or task(s) students are responsible for during and after watching the view to focus and engage students' viewing attention. Assign each student group a focus for viewing activity an tell them that they will be standing and presenting their focus for viewing to the rest of the class after viewing the video segments. Group one should be asked to define drag and give an example. They can use a diagram or drawing if they wish. Group two should define thrust and present examples.

Have student groups drop a flat sheet of newspaper from a height of eight feet. They should time the drop with a stop watch. They should record the time and repeat the measurement at least three times. Then they should wad up the sheet of newspaper and drop it from eight feet in the air. They should time drop and record the data at least three times. They should then calculate the speed at which the paper dropped by dividing the eight foot distance by the average time.

Viewing Activities
Teacher note: These videos are used to present two consecutive lessons about the forces of flight. The first lesson is about lift and weight. The second lesson is about thrust and drag. These can be combined into a ninety minute block or two forty-five minute class periods.

BEGIN playing the video at the segment on drag. PAUSE the video when the narrator says "Notice how this goose tucks its feet under its body." and the screen shows a close-up of the tail and feet of a flying goose. Check for comprehension by asking "What is streamlining? How does a bird use streamlining? What are some other examples of streamlining?"

Have the students blow up their balloons to the same circumference and close it with a clothespin. Have the attach a straw to the side of the balloon to act as a guide in flight. Have the student hook their balloon to the guide wire and release the clothespin. They should use a stop watch to time the flight of the balloon and use a tape measure to record the distance of the balloon's flight. Divide the distance by the time to determine the speed of the balloon. Have them attach a flat sheet of construction paper to the front of the balloon perform the experiment again. Record the time and distance and calculate the speed. Allow the students three tries to attach construction paper attachments to the balloons to streamline them and create the fastest balloon.

RESUME playing the video. STOP the video when the narrator says "For their size they are stronger than people." and the screen shows flying birds. Check for comprehension by having the class discuss other types of thrust, for example: engines moving a car, throwing a paper plane, props or oars moving a boat forward.

Have the students blow up the balloons to half of their original circumference and fly them on the string. How do the measurements compare to the original flights. Have them try at 3/4 their original circumference. How do the measurements compare to the first two sizes?

Switch to the video Look Up, Number Three, Airplanes. FAST FORWARD the video to where Imagination is shown on the screen directly above a keyboard and says "I'm a creature of numerous talents." BEGIN playing the video. STOP the video when the screen shows an airplane flying in a blue sky with clouds and the narrator says "When all four forces are equal the airplane flies straight and level."

Post-Viewing Activities
Focus groups should give a two minute presentation about their topic. As homework all students should be asked to prepare a poster of a bird or airplane showing all four forces.
Action Plan
Contact the FAA and arrange for a flight simulator to brought to the classroom for the students to try. Arrange for a pilot to come and talk to them about flying.

Arrange a field trip to a local airport or hanger facility and observe how airports function.

Arrange a field trip to an aviation school to learn about mechanics and flying lessons.

Social Studies, Public Speaking and Science: Have the students research historical flights and have them write and record an imitation news bulletin about the flight.

Language Arts, Graphic Arts and Science: Have students write and illustrate a biographical picture book based on the lives of famous flyers. Bind the student books and include them in the classroom library.

Industrial Arts, Graphic Arts, Science and Math: Have students design and construct their own balsa wood glider. Limit the glider's weight to eight ounces. Allow the students to hold a competition for speed and distance.

If your students have access to Internet or satellite broadcast exchange programs, they will enjoy the opportunity to share their ideas with other classes of students from other schools.

Master Teachers: Joyce M. Conner and Janet Byrnes

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