We now have an understanding that air does exist and how we can use it to help us move. Now it is time to learn about how planes use air to help them fly.
This was a question that always made me “scratch my head” when I was a child. I understood that birds we very light and it is easy to make them fly (they move their wings). But I always wondered how planes could fly – the had wings but they didn’t flap and they were very very heavy. These experiments should help you answer this riddle.
Provocation: What does the word “aerodynamics” mean? What is the history of the word?
With a partner do a short word study into the word aerodynamics and build a word matrix for the word.
Question: How do the wings of a plane work?
With a partner develop a theory of how a plane’s wing work. Once you have shared your theory use they following resources to help develop your understanding.
Grab your iPad and develop a short video (iMovie or Explain Everything) explaining how a wing works.
The Great Paper Airplane Test
Our culminating activity for this mini unit will be a paper airplane contest. We will need to discuss what criteria we will judge our planes on before it begins (we can have multiple categories) – distance, maximum flight time, most loops, etc.
Once we have that sorted it is time for you to start researching and building. Use your knowledge of air and aerodynamics to help guide you. Your small group will need to use the following procedure (don’t be limited to only 3 designs but you need to use the structure from the table for your tests) as you work through various models so you can conduct accurate tests.
Below are a range of resources to help you with the process. Please note you are not allowed to print out a template and fold. You must folder the plane yourself.
Plane Designs 1
Plane Designs 2
Plane Designs 3
Plane Designs 4 (videos) – there are thousands of tutorial videos on Youtube for paper planes
How many helium balloons would it take to make you fly?
This is idea has been shown in many cartoons but is it really possible? It is time to work this out. Use the following information to work out how many (or how large) helium balloons it would take to lift you (you will need to know your weight for this).
Fun Video 1
Fun Video 2