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.
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 Sway, 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.
In the ClassroomUse these fabulous "how to" videos for informative writing projects in speech, science, or even with your gifted students. The site does provide excellent research. You may want to link directly to the specific videos you want students to see in order to avoid other, less-desirable options. Share the "how to" videos on an interactive whiteboard or projector as an anticipatory set for a new lesson. For a final project, have students create and submit their own "how to" video using YouTube or using a tool such as SchoolTube (reviewed here).
Grades3 to 6
In the ClassroomThis website could be used in a variety of capacities in science and/or social studies. The site offers excellent research information about the Wright brothers and the invention of the airplane. The site would also be useful in a science class learning about flight, steam-powered engines, gas-powered engine, wings shape, lift, and other aviation concepts.
Grades4 to 10
In the ClassroomUse this website as a resource for a research project about inventors. Share the timeline on an interactive whiteboard or projector during a unit about inventors, engineers, or aviation.
Grades3 to 8
In the ClassroomUse the "People to Know" section as a model for a class activity on any science or history topic. Share this section of the Flight site on a projector or whiteboard during your inventions or Famous Americans unit. Then, in your next unit, have students write about an important figure without his/her name and ask others to guess who it might be. Put the writings on your class blog or wiki and have other students respond with their guesses.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomFlying has always fascinated us, and flying failures are sometimes more interesting than successes. Students will know all about the Wright Brothers; they are unlikely to have heard of Alberto Santos-Dumont. The interactives are terrific and the paper airplanes would make a good hands-on activity. The readings about Santos-Dumont would also make good selections for a reading teacher trying to find motivating readings to teach comprehension strategies.
Grades3 to 5
In the ClassroomThis website includes a lesson plan, NCTM math standards and a unique group activity. Use an interactive whiteboard to make this airplane adventure a class project.
Grades3 to 6
tag(s): flight (36)
In the ClassroomThis lesson also includes a group activity of creating an overhead map of their school using the polygon information learned during this lesson. This would be a great activity on an interactive whiteboard (and simultaneously for small groups working at their seats together).
Grades8 to 12
tag(s): wright brothers (25)