TeachersFirst's Resources: Man Soars Into Flight
On December 17, 1903, Wilbur Wright stretched out across the lower wing of the flying machine that he and his brother, Orville, had built and gently eased the machine into the world's first successful powered flight. The craft flew about 120 feet before settling back down into the sand of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Later that day, the Wrights made three additional flights; the last and longest covered more than 850 feet in just under one minute.
The Wrights may have succeeded where others had failed because they brought a unique combination of talents to their task. They were meticulous in their work, and they did not hesitate to develop their own theories and solutions, especially when commonly held assumptions about the physics of flight got in their way.
Since the Centennial of the Wrights' first flight in 2003, a bumper crop of web sites has appeared, devoted to the history of these creative inventors and to flight and aviation in general. These reviewed resources provide a great introduction to the Wright Brothers' achievements and to the principles and major figures involved with flight.
Include manned flight within a unit on inventors and inventions or with study of the late 19th and early 20th century in American History at any level. The Wright Brothers and other figures in flight can be part of a unit on famous scientists and their discoveries. Inspire inventiveness in your own students by having them create their own projects telling the story of flight using one of the reviewed digital storytelling tools from the TeachersFirst Edge: something as simple as a comic strip or as elaborate as a multimedia presentation.
Grades5 to 10
In the ClassroomShare webinars on your class website for students to view at home. Check the site's homepage for upcoming webinars, then participate with your class. Check Twitter to see if your class can follow any of the presenting scientists. If you are lucky enough to live in the Washington, DC area, contact the museum to attend a live taping. After viewing a webinar, have students create a multimedia presentation using Voicethread, reviewed here. Voicethread allows users to narrate a picture. Challenge students to find a photo (legally permitted to be reproduced), and then narrate the photo as if it is a news report. STEM in 30 is also a great resource for gifted students to get involved with their own challenges and pursuits.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomWhat a perfect addition to a lesson about the Wright brothers or a science unit about aviation (physics and more)! Have students work in cooperative learning groups and research a specific topic found at this site. Have students use Fakebook, reviewed here, to create a "fake" page similar in style to Facebook about one of the Wright brothers or as a spectator viewing one of the first flying machines. Be sure to take advantage of the free experiments and activities available on the site.
Grades4 to 12
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In the ClassroomWhen introducing a new unit, show students photos from the era and have them describe what they see and what period they think it is. Find plenty of questions and activities (including a blank analysis organizer for students) in the Teacher's Guides. Also look at Library of Congress: for Teachers, reviewed here. Encourage your students to use this tool for projects. Challenge students to find a photo (legally permitted for reproduction), and then narrate the photo as if it is a news report. Have students create a multimedia presentation using Voicethread, reviewed here. This tool allows users to narrate a picture. Include this site on your class webpage for students and parents to access as a reference.
Grades1 to 12
In the ClassroomThis site will work well in any social studies or math class. Have groups of students use the airline price meter activity to try and buy a ticket for $300. Then have students use computers and visit a travel site and see if they can replicate the activity for real. Using the "At Your Service Section" have your students create 1950s style airline ad posters. Use the baggage claim activity to talk about scales and weight. Bring in some empty suitcases and let students fill them up and try to guess the weight. In language arts or social studies classes use a projector or interactive whiteboard and read a few entries from the Stories section with your students. Ask students to write about a flight they remember (or any mode of transportation for a trip) in the same manner as the examples. In addition, language arts or social studies teachers can use this site's nonfiction reading to help satisfy student's reading goals for the Common Core Standards.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomExplore this site with your class on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Use the images of the Wright Brother's notebooks to demonstrate the importance of gathering and recording scientific evidence. Allow students to explore this site on their own. Have students create timelines about aircraft history (with music, photos, videos, and more) using Capzles, reviewed here. Have students use Fakebook, reviewed here, to create a "fake" page similar in style to Facebook about one of the Wright Brothers.
GradesK to 9
In the ClassroomIncorporate this expedition into your units on continents, exploration and explorers (to compare modern exploration with historic expeditions), or science units on flight, energy and more. See the Blog for specific scientific explorations your students can read in groups or as a class. Include this resource in a unit on scientists and what they do. Include some of the readings as informational texts that will generate high student interest. This is a great resource for your gifted students in a regular classroom to extend curriculum and share what they have learned with classmates. For more background for teachers, see the Executive Summary under "About." Have students use a class account to create maps using Animaps, reviewed here. Students can add text, images, and location stops! Middle school students can use Fakebook, reviewed here, to create a "fake" page similar in style to Facebook about any of the people on Captain Barrington's journey.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomHave students choose a book they can connect to concepts you are studying in science class or have them choose a book of interest and generate a list of questions they would like to investigate further. Share this list with students during your study of physics of flight and aerodynamics. Include it during study of sophisticated engineering design or of basic concepts such as gravity and air flow. As you study animal adaptations and the differences among species, look closely at how birds fly and how man-made flying machines mimic some of their capabilities. The non-fiction selections offer possible informational texts to practice Common Core science literacy skills.
Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomBring the spirit of invention alive in your classroom. Follow the process, from the earlier designs through each later design, each building upon its predecessor. Discover the many types of testing done to determine limits for each problem. The videos of flight will bring your class on board with Wilbur or Orville! Share the videos on your projector (or interactive whiteboard). Discover the steps to the scientific method or design process to apply in other projects. Include this project in a study of leadership or as a lesson in the perseverance of innovation! Use it as an introduction to your Discovery Fair or Science Night.
Grades5 to 12
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In the ClassroomThis site is ideal for an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have the students open the site and use the whiteboard tools to view and discuss photographs. Take your students on a trip back in time through these photographs. After sharing a portrait of an era or a defining moment, have students create their own projects to explain it in their own creative way. For example, they could do a project about life during the Civil War. Use urls for these images in projects that can "pull" images by url. (Right click to get the image url.) Alternatively, find Creative Commons images for student projects (with credit, of course), try Compfight, reviewed here. Have students create an annotated image including text boxes and related links using a tool such as Thinglink, reviewed here. Have students create maps using Animaps, reviewed here. Students can add text, images, and location stops! Have students use Fakebook (reviewed here) to create a "fake" page similar in style to Facebook after researching people and events found on Old Pictures. Include this site on your class web page for students and parents to access as a reference.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomThis is a perfect addition to a lesson about the Wright brothers or a science unit about aviation (physics and more). Share the puzzles on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Provide the link on your class website for students to explore at home.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomThis site provides teachers with resources on the topics of Newton's Laws of Motion, The Four Forces of Flight, Lift, Drag, Thrust, Weight, Center of Gravity, Roll, and Pitch. View the videos using an interactive whiteboard or projector. Download the simulations to your classroom computers and have students work in groups to solve them. Have students work cooperatively to complete one of the many activities found on the site like building a model airplane. Students can then conduct an investigation to see whose plane can fly the farthest.
Grades6 to 12
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In the ClassroomShare this site with students when researching famous Americans, women, flight, or careers. Have students use a mapping tool such as Google Earth (reviewed here) to create an audio (and visual) tour of Amelia Earhart's journeys. Her story could also offer a powerful writing prompt for an essay about people who take on formidable challenges/adventures.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomChoose a type of flight to have students study and assign that part of the website as a web search with a question sheet. Or have students create their own journey by picking a path and then explain what they learn as they go through the activity in writing. Before writing, have students organize their thoughts about what they learn with a tool such as bubbl.us (reviewed here.)
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomThis site is perfect for use on the interactive whiteboard or projector. Display activities on the board as you explore different earth science concepts. Create a link on classroom computers for older students to explore the site on their own. Use the lesson plans on the site to complement your existing lessons on earth science.
Grades6 to 10
In the ClassroomShow students the video about the Wright brothers. Then have them work independently on computers to read and explore more information about lift. Have small groups of students choose a project to complete using some of the blue links provided in the reading. For example one group could explore "vector quantity" and present it to the class as if they were explaining it to a fifth grader, making it easier for everyone to understand the concept, and definitely ensuring that this small group will internalize what "vector quantity" is. Have students use a tool such as bubbl.us (reviewed here) to create and share concept maps of their assigned topics. The main bubble could be part of the concept in scientific language and the bubbles joining it could be the concept in kid language. Have groups present their project to the class as an assessment, and you could also embed it on your webpage or wiki for parents to view and students to use as a review.
GradesK to 8
In the ClassroomShare the video clips on your interactive whiteboard or projector to accompany curriculum topics in science, art, physical education, language arts, health, or family/consumer science. Or show the videos to a class as examples for writing how-to (demonstration) speeches and/or videos done in language arts classes. Challenge students to create their own videos using a site such as SchoolTube (reviewed here). Look here also for ideas of holiday craft projects. Share the link on your class web page for students to try activities at home during breaks.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomUse the information in the pictures to create a timeline of missions. Research how technology of spacecraft and launch controls have changed over time. Challenge your students to use a site such as TimeRime reviewed here to create and share interactive timelines. Use the links provided to find out more about specific missions and people involved. Assign a writing assignment to go with the pictures. Have students pick a particular picture that is of interest to them and explain why it captures their attention. Challenge students to create a talking avatar using the photo. Use a site such as Blabberize (reviewed here). Create poems, newscasts, or other forms to showcase information and thoughts.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomStudents doing research on the Wright brothers will find this site invaluable. Have students work in cooperative learning groups and research a specific topic found at this site. Challenge students to create a multimedia presentation. Have students use a tool such as Woices (beta) (reviewed here). This site allows students to create audio recordings AND choose a location (on a map) where the story takes place.
Grades1 to 12
In the ClassroomUse this collection as a starting point for flight-related investigations by student groups. This project could also be an option during a broader unit on invention or the lives of scientists or famous Americans. Ask students to create a multimedia "poster" depicting some aspect of the Wright Brothers' work or a principle of aerodynamics that made it all possible. Use a simple software tool such as PowerPoint or a rich, online tool such as Glogster EDU reviewed here, to create and share the projects.
Grades6 to 12
Membership is free and has many perks. You are able to comment and/or grade the video clips or even submit your own video. Registration does require some personal information: a username, password, email address, and date of birth. ALL USERS MUST BE OVER 13-years of age! Check with your administrator about allowing the students to register for this site using fictitious names. You may wish to set up a class registration instead of entering true data into the registration site. Another option is to create a free Gmail account to use for memberships. If you plan to have students register individually, you may want to create your own Gmail account with up to 20 subaccounts for each group of students (by code name or number) within your classes. Here is a blog post that tells how to set up GMail subaccounts to use for any online membership service.
Warning: not all videos are suitable for the classroom. Be sure to preview what you wish to share. If you choose to allow your older students to navigate this site on their own (for research or a class project), be sure to set boundaries on which videos to watch, consequences for going elsewhere, and WATCH CAREFULLY! Some videos explain "how to" do things that are unsafe or inappropriate for school-ages audiences. Wonder How To does include unobtrusive advertisements. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.