TeachersFirst's Resources: Man Soars Into Flight

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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. 

Happy flying!

 

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Wonder How To - Wonder How To, Inc.

Grades
6 to 12
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This creative site offers "how to" videos on a WIDE variety of topics. Anyone is able to view the videos, but you must be a member (which is free) to ...more
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This creative site offers "how to" videos on a WIDE variety of topics. Anyone is able to view the videos, but you must be a member (which is free) to comment on the videos, grade the videos, or submit your own "how to" video. Topics vary; some are appropriate for the classroom - others are definitely NOT appropriate. Some of the general topics that may be useful in the middle school or high school classroom include: alcohol, autos, motorcycles, and planes, business and money, computers and programming, diet and health, education (which features a variety of science experiments and more), film and theater, language (English, Chinese, Hungarian, Russian, Finnish, sign language, Polish, and countless others), music and instruments, travel, and several other topics. Within each of these general topics, there are thousands of specific "how to" videos.

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.

tag(s): aircraft (24), business (57), money (192), russian (27), sign language (8)

In the Classroom

Use 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).

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Celebrating 100 Years of Flight: Build An Airplane - Scholastic

Grades
3 to 6
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Come to this website to learn more about aerodynamics, the Wright Brothers, directions to create your own airplane, and details about the invention of the airplane. The interactive...more
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Come to this website to learn more about aerodynamics, the Wright Brothers, directions to create your own airplane, and details about the invention of the airplane. The interactive airplane creation activity allows students to choose the wings shape and lift, the type of engine to use to power the aircraft (an aluminum gas-powered engine or a steal steam-powered engine), and how they will control the plane. Then the website tests out the students' choices to see if the aircraft will fly. The site doesn't offer an interactive flight, but rather a picture of the results of their choices. Students have the option to "try again" if their choices do not produce success.

tag(s): air (163), aviation (40), inventors and inventions (103), wright brothers (26)

In the Classroom

This 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.

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Cyrus Rowlett Smith - learningbox.com

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4 to 10
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Use this site to learn about Cyrus Rowlett Smith, a pioneer aviator and patriarch of American Airlines. This website offers a simple interactive timeline of his life and accomplishments....more
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Use this site to learn about Cyrus Rowlett Smith, a pioneer aviator and patriarch of American Airlines. This website offers a simple interactive timeline of his life and accomplishments. The time line stretches from 1899 - 1990. There are graphics, historical and scientific information, information about World War II, and biographic information about C. R. Smith. The site and timeline are very simple to use and offer some little known information.

tag(s): air (163), aviation (40), world war 2 (141)

In the Classroom

Use 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.

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Way Back: Flight - WGBH for PBS

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3 to 8
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This interactive website (created by PBS) presents the history of flight. What a fabulous way to integrate history, science, inventions, research, and writing. Click your way through...more
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This interactive website (created by PBS) presents the history of flight. What a fabulous way to integrate history, science, inventions, research, and writing. Click your way through the notable and not-so-notable flight pioneers. Other highlights of this website include a wealth of information about the Wright Brothers, a modern day female barnstormer, "joke" links, and more.

tag(s): flight (36), inventors and inventions (103), wright brothers (26)

In the Classroom

Use 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.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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NOVA Wings of Madness - PBS

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6 to 12
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From a recent PBS Nova episode, this site deals with the early efforts of pioneer aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont. Santos-Dumont had the revolutionary idea that enabling humans to fly...more
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From a recent PBS Nova episode, this site deals with the early efforts of pioneer aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont. Santos-Dumont had the revolutionary idea that enabling humans to fly would contribute to world peace, because people would experience a new, more pure, perspective on the world from above. A contemporary of the Wright Brothers, Santos-Dumont's designs influenced modern "ultralight" planes of today. The site includes biographical information about Santos-Dumont and a very nice slideshow of failed airplane designs. There is an interactive view of one of Santos-Dumont's planes showing its features. Under the teacher's guide, a classroom activity provides plans for various forms of paper airplanes illustrating principles of aerodynamics.

tag(s): air (163), aviation (40)

In the Classroom

Flying 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.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Runways and Takeoff - Bob McMahon

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3 to 5
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At this website, students are presented with a unique problem solving activity. The user of this site becomes the pilot of a 747. Students must calculate the correct ...more
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At this website, students are presented with a unique problem solving activity. The user of this site becomes the pilot of a 747. Students must calculate the correct weight on board the airplane by converting pounds to tons and then the students need to determine the correct runway length (to the nearest foot). There is an individual and group activity provided.

tag(s): addition (252), air (163), estimation (46), measurement (163), multiplication (227), problem solving (258)

In the Classroom

This 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.

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Bird's Eye View - Neal Loving

Grades
3 to 6
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This creative lesson is designed as a "test" to become a pilot. The students are introduced and tested on polygons. After the students are introduced to the polygons, ...more
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This creative lesson is designed as a "test" to become a pilot. The students are introduced and tested on polygons. After the students are introduced to the polygons, they use their knowledge to identify shapes of buildings while they are "flying" in their helicopter.

tag(s): flight (36)

In the Classroom

This 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).

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Wright Brothers and the Invention of the Aerial Age - Smithsonian

Grades
8 to 12
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This site offers beautiful illustrations, photographs and interactive activities, all designed to acquaint visitors with the challenges and achievements of the Wright Brothers. In...more
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This site offers beautiful illustrations, photographs and interactive activities, all designed to acquaint visitors with the challenges and achievements of the Wright Brothers. In addition to excellent content - organized by topic in timeline format - the site features an artifact gallery and several well-planned classroom activities. An interactive "pitch, roll, and yaw" experiment is coming soon.

tag(s): wright brothers (26)

In the Classroom

Use the images on this site to create a visual discovery activity in your classroom to introduce the topic of the Wright brothers. Select 3-5 of the more powerful images, placing them on separate slides in a Powerpoint, to be displayed over the projector. Have students write down what they observe, predict and infer about each image jotting them down on a graphic organizer. (For help making graphic organizers, try: Graphic Organizer Maker, (reviewed here).) Once the class has gone through all of the images, have a class discussion based on the notes that students took during the process. This activity can be used to introduce or review, in a non-lecture format.

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Stories of the Wrights' Flight - Smithsonian

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8 to 12
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Learn about a pivotal event in American history while strengthening research skills. This lesson plan combines primary source documents authored by the Wright brothers with newspaper...more
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Learn about a pivotal event in American history while strengthening research skills. This lesson plan combines primary source documents authored by the Wright brothers with newspaper accounts of the Kitty Hawk accomplishments. Students are asked to compare and contrast the two sources to identify discrepancies and isolate the most reliable documents.

tag(s): flight (36), wright brothers (26)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plan that's offered on this site! There is even a pre-prepared graphic organizer that is available to help students catalog the information.

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Paper Airplanes - Exploratorium

Grades
3 to 8
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Turn every student's favorite class distraction into a learning opportunity with this lesson that takes a scientific look at the common paper airplane. Instructions on how to properly...more
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Turn every student's favorite class distraction into a learning opportunity with this lesson that takes a scientific look at the common paper airplane. Instructions on how to properly fold an airplane are provided (not that your students will need those!), but then the challenge begins. Structural adjustments to increase performance are discussed, the function of the paper in the construction process is examined, and basic concepts of flight are explained. Pair this activity with a study of the Wright Brothers and the history of flight, or with an environmental lesson on paper recycling.

tag(s): air (163), flight (36), oil (46)

In the Classroom

This site would be great for a physics unit discussing the aerodynamics of flight. Have a team competition as students use the site on an interactive whiteboard and try to create the best paper planes they can - through consideration of scientific processes that go into flight. This is a fun activity that allows students to practically apply concepts and have some fun.

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Evolution of Flight in Birds - UC Berkeley

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6 to 12
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Help students think the way da Vinci and the Wright Brothers did using this interactive tutorial that scientifically assembles evidence explaining how birds have achieved the ability...more
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Help students think the way da Vinci and the Wright Brothers did using this interactive tutorial that scientifically assembles evidence explaining how birds have achieved the ability to fly! The entire module requires four to eight class periods, depending on the activities chosen. Lesson plans, handouts, and assessment that align with the Nation Science Education Standards are provided. Sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

tag(s): evolution (100), flight (36)

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Vertebrate Flight Exhibit - UC Berkeley

Grades
9 to 12
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Man may have been flying for only a century, but other vertebrates have been doing it for millions of years! Take a virtual tour of the University of California's Paleontology ...more
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Man may have been flying for only a century, but other vertebrates have been doing it for millions of years! Take a virtual tour of the University of California's Paleontology Vertebrate Flight Exhibit. If you're just introducing the mechanics of flight, embarking on a study of natural history and prehistoric life, or looking for a new approach to an old physics lesson, this site can provide a wealth of information. Each topic of the exhibit can be explored independently or the entire site can be treated as a tutorial, with each section flowing logically to the next. The text requires a fairly high level of reading, but is brief. Links providing further explanation of key terms are found throughout the site.

tag(s): flight (36), paleontology (41)

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Re-living the Wright Way - NASA

Grades
9 to 12
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Not for the faint-hearted, this site explains the math and science behind the Wright Brother's success on that fateful day in Kitty Hawk, NC. Geometry, trigonometry, and Newton's Laws,...more
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Not for the faint-hearted, this site explains the math and science behind the Wright Brother's success on that fateful day in Kitty Hawk, NC. Geometry, trigonometry, and Newton's Laws, along with principles of aerodynamics, are discussed as they relate to aircraft and the phenomena of flight. Many of the links take you to interactive programs that visually illustrate scientific principles. Created by NASA.

tag(s): aeronautics (13), air (163), aircraft (24), aviation (40), flight (36)

In the Classroom

Physics teachers - use this site as a resource to search for materials to inject in your curriculum year-round. There are interactives, virtual lessons and the like that could add something new to your class. Save the site as a favorite to allow for easy retrieval later on.

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Dream of Flight - Library of Congress

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6 to 12
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Highlighting the incredible courage, ingenuity, and determination of Orville and Wilbur Wright, this Library of Congress site traces the importance of flight through history as it chronicles...more
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Highlighting the incredible courage, ingenuity, and determination of Orville and Wilbur Wright, this Library of Congress site traces the importance of flight through history as it chronicles the brothers' amazing achievement in Kitty Hawk, NC. Rich in text, photographs, and primary source documents, this electronic exhibit could form the basis for a teacher-created Web hunt, or serve as a visual supplement for a unit on American history and inventors.

tag(s): air (163), aircraft (24), aviation (40), flight (36), wright brothers (26)

In the Classroom

Within the section entitled "the dream" is a collection of primary resources that reflect society's obsession with flight. Print out or download these images separately on the interactive whiteboard or projector. Once students are in groups, assign each student a resource - with each group analyzing and interpreting the meaning of the pieces of art. After each group has dissected their resource, have a classroom debate as to which is the most reflective of human desire to fly? Which is the most inspirational? Which was the most scientific? Not only will the debate explore each of the sources but it will depend on students background knowledge of the history of flight. Because of this, this activity is probably best served at the end of a unit when it can be used as an informal review.

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America on the Move - Smithsonian Institution

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4 to 12
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Here's an extremely well-designed site about the history of American transportation that really moves. Users can approach the content in several ways: an eighteen part chronology filled...more
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Here's an extremely well-designed site about the history of American transportation that really moves. Users can approach the content in several ways: an eighteen part chronology filled with images, thematic presentations on immigration, technology, etc., or a sizeable collection of reproducible lessons and teaching materials. Middle schoolers should handle the writing level adequately, and the site is sufficiently visual that upper elementary users will follow the presentation. This one should be a welcome addition to anyone's transportation unit.

tag(s): air (163), railroads (10), transportation (40)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plans and activities hosted on this site! Most detail specific ways to use the site itself in a lesson & would compliment a unit based on transportation and the effect of technologies such as railroads and the automobile.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Basics of Space Flight - Cal Tech

Grades
9 to 12
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This site from Cal Tech's Jet Propulsion Lab offers an extensive reference (at least for student purposes) on the principles, environment, and problems associated with space flight....more
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This site from Cal Tech's Jet Propulsion Lab offers an extensive reference (at least for student purposes) on the principles, environment, and problems associated with space flight. The jargon is technical, most suitable for motivated secondary students, but there is a wealth of content available here.

tag(s): flight (36), rockets (14), space (206)

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The Wright Brothers - Henry Ford Museum

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6 to 12
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Maintained by the Henry Ford Museum, a small site focused on biographies of the Wright Brothers and a time line of their flights. The main Henry Ford Museum site ...more
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Maintained by the Henry Ford Museum, a small site focused on biographies of the Wright Brothers and a time line of their flights. The main Henry Ford Museum site has more information on the historical context of the times in which the Wrights lived.

tag(s): aviation (40), flight (36), wright brothers (26)

In the Classroom

Although it's a short site, this would make a great learning center during a unit on the Wright brothers and the history of flight. Based on the information on the site, have students create "historical heads" about the wright brothers. Simply have students draw the outline of a head, and fill the head with illustrations that represent the achievements and events in the brothers' lives! This would be a great tool to help students review as well as introduce the topic.

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Countdown to Kitty Hawk - Experimental Aviation Association

Grades
6 to 12
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A site maintained by the Experimental Aviation Association and the Ford Motor Company, it is focused on the replication of the "Wright Flyer" the plane flown by the Wright Brothers...more
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A site maintained by the Experimental Aviation Association and the Ford Motor Company, it is focused on the replication of the "Wright Flyer" the plane flown by the Wright Brothers in 1903. Most of the site consists of side by side comparisons between the original Flyer and the 2003 replica. Not as rich as many of the other sites about the Wrights.

tag(s): aviation (40), flight (36), wright brothers (26)

In the Classroom

Use the images on this site to supplement powerpoint lectures and displays about the Wright Brothers. Students can also use this site as a resource for research projects, for images and primary sources.

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Wright Brothers Aeroplane Company

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6 to 12
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Billed as a virtual museum, the site is divided into "wings." There is an enormous amount of information on this site! The History "wing" includes biographies of the ...more
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Billed as a virtual museum, the site is divided into "wings." There is an enormous amount of information on this site! The History "wing" includes biographies of the Wright Brothers, information about the history of flight and some little known facts in an area called "aviation's attic." Along the side are links to music files with music of the early 1900s such as the Wrights might have listened to. The Adventure "wing" looks at models of airplanes and the science of flight, and includes more music files. The "Information Desk" includes news about local Dayton, Ohio commemorations of the centennial of flight. No lesson plans and no areas specifically for educators, but lots of facts and pictures spread out all over the site.

tag(s): aviation (40), flight (36), wright brothers (26)

In the Classroom

Share this site on an interactive whiteboard or projector as an introduction to a lesson on the Wright Brothers and their impact on flight. Then have students explore this site independently or in small groups. Assign each group a "wing" or subsection to read and research with the intent being for them to present their findings to their peers. Have students create a multimedia presentation using UtellStory, reviewed here. This site 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 that their classmates know virtually nothing about. To find Creative Commons images for student projects (with credit, of course), try PhotoPin, reviewed here. This makes the most sense if the reports and presented chronologically so students can piece together the history of the Wrights brothers.

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