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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The Wright Stuff - PBS

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6 to 12
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From the PBS American Experience Site, this site includes both RealAudio clips and transcripts of interviews with two historians about the Wright Brothers, a Quick Time movie of a recreation...more
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From the PBS American Experience Site, this site includes both RealAudio clips and transcripts of interviews with two historians about the Wright Brothers, a Quick Time movie of a recreation of the Wright Brothers' flight, and narrative about the PBS American Experience program on the Wright Brothers. "Read More Learn More" is simply a (non-hyperlinked) bibliography.

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

In the Classroom

Use the audio interviews as a group activity during a lesson on the Wright Brothers and the history of flight. Introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students explore this site independently or in small groups. To show what they have learned from this site, challenge students to create an online graphic to share using Tabblo reviewed here.

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Centennial of Flight: Rediscovering the Challenges of Flight - NASA

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2 to 12
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Click on "Educator Resources" for a collection of lesson plans focused on the NASA project to replicate the Wright Brothers' 1903 Flight. Includes information on meeting national standards,...more
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Click on "Educator Resources" for a collection of lesson plans focused on the NASA project to replicate the Wright Brothers' 1903 Flight. Includes information on meeting national standards, assessment activities, profiles on famous people related to flight and further internet resources.

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

In the Classroom

Lesson plans focus on all grade levels from K-12.

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Wright Brothers' Flying Machine - PBS Nova

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6 to 12
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This companion site to the NOVA program of the same name includes some slick interactive components that would let student experience some of the problems with which the Wright brothers...more
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This companion site to the NOVA program of the same name includes some slick interactive components that would let student experience some of the problems with which the Wright brothers had to grapple to make their airplane fly. These help illustrate how the two reverted to "first principles" in solving problems, rather than building on the theories of others. This one puts lots of information into readily available form.

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

In the Classroom

Use the teachers guide to search for lesson plans and classroom activities for your history classroom. The lessons guide teachers with incorporating the site into their classroom - a great find for a US history classroom!
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Introduction to Aeronautics - NASA

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4 to 8
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While it's a bit confusing at first, this NASA site offers a nice upper elementary-level introduction to aeronautics and airplane design. It includes sections on history, aircraft components,...more
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While it's a bit confusing at first, this NASA site offers a nice upper elementary-level introduction to aeronautics and airplane design. It includes sections on history, aircraft components, and propulsion systems.

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

In the Classroom

There are also some very basic lesson ideas.

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Wright Brothers' History - Centennial of Flight Commission

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6 to 12
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The US Centennial of Flight Commission has prepared an extensive look at the Wright Brothers and their efforts to build a successful aircraft. This section of a larger site offers ...more
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The US Centennial of Flight Commission has prepared an extensive look at the Wright Brothers and their efforts to build a successful aircraft. This section of a larger site offers details on the journals, the specifications, and the reconstruction of the original Wright flyer. History and physics teachers alike will enjoy this one.

tag(s): air (163), aviation (40), north carolina (4), wright brothers (26)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plans and activities offered! There are also games that teachers can either print out and use as quick review activities or as a learning center or station. If using as a learning station, save the site as a favorite and have kids peruse it during a unit on Flight, the evolution of transportation or the Industrial Growth of the early 20th century.
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Centennial of Flight Commission - US government

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4 to 12
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This government site offers information the celebration of the Wright Brothers' Flight centennial, as well as a great collection of printable posters and commemorative lesson materials....more
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This government site offers information the celebration of the Wright Brothers' Flight centennial, as well as a great collection of printable posters and commemorative lesson materials. These could make great classroom decorations, and the lesson materials are thorough and grade-specific. Try this one on students interested in the physics of flight or a career in aviation.

tag(s): aviation (40), north carolina (4), wright brothers (26)

In the Classroom

Use the games on this site as a way to help students review the information in learning centers or during a lull in class time. Teachers can also post this on their class wiki to allow students to access it both in and out of the classroom!
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Wright Flyer Project

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6 to 12
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The 100th anniversary of the Wright Brothers' first flight is in fall of 2003, and this site documents an effort to replicate that achievement by replicating the original Wright Flyer....more
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The 100th anniversary of the Wright Brothers' first flight is in fall of 2003, and this site documents an effort to replicate that achievement by replicating the original Wright Flyer. In turns out to be more difficult than even the experts imagined. Learn more here.

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

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Flight History

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6 to 12
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This British site includes a large collection of images of famous European and American aircraft, along with stories about many of them. Many of the stories concentrate on the circumstances...more
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This British site includes a large collection of images of famous European and American aircraft, along with stories about many of them. Many of the stories concentrate on the circumstances in which the aircraft were used. Try using this site as a supplement to a study of aeronautics or events of the early twentieth century.

tag(s): air (163), aircraft (24), aviation (40)

In the Classroom

While some of the information on this site is targeted towards travelers, there is useful information here that can be used to supplement a lecture on the origins of flight and the Wright Brothers. Open the section about the Wright Brothers on the interactive whiteboard or projector, and use the timeline provided as a guide for students to follow. This would also be a great jumping off point for students working on research projects or papers about the Wright Brothers - save this site on your class wiki or webpage to allow students to access it both in and out of the classroom. This would be useful in a US history or Physics classroom following the evolution of flight.

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WASP on the Web

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6 to 12
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While this site really assumes the user knows the story of the women who helped ferry aircraft of all sorts from factory to front during World War II, the various ...more
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While this site really assumes the user knows the story of the women who helped ferry aircraft of all sorts from factory to front during World War II, the various site elements offer glimpses of the people, airplanes, and places that made the WASPs an indispensable element of the war effort. The sounds add some additional realism.

tag(s): air (163), aviation (40), women (101), world war 2 (141)

In the Classroom

Use the audio/video on this site over the interactive whiteboard to show students who the WASPS were as well as the contribution they made to the war effort. This would be a great addition to a lesson on WWII as well as the fight for equality between the sexes. History teachers will like this one.
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U.S. Air Force Museum - U.S. Air Force

Grades
4 to 12
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Here's a site with dozens of images and histories of military and civilian aircraft. The site also includes histories of many aircraft used by U.S. presidents. This site could assist...more
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Here's a site with dozens of images and histories of military and civilian aircraft. The site also includes histories of many aircraft used by U.S. presidents. This site could assist with research on aviation history or related topics.

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

In the Classroom

Click on "museum exhibits" for photos of each plane and weapon featured in the museum. Aerospace teachers can use this site for example photos of planes being studied in class, while history teachers can use those same photos in units concerning the evolution of transportation or warfare. This site truly is an interdisciplinary webpage, and can be used to supplement lectures in many classrooms. E

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How Air Force One Works - Howstuffworks

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4 to 12
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For the fans of Presidential gadgets, Air Force One is the ultimate. Here's a site that really does explain how the president's jet functions and what it looks like on ...more
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For the fans of Presidential gadgets, Air Force One is the ultimate. Here's a site that really does explain how the president's jet functions and what it looks like on the inside. Lots of text, images, and animations will make this one attractive for curious airplane fans.

tag(s): air (163), aircraft (24), flight (36), presidents (129)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a starting point for students working on research projects or papers concerning the President and one of the many services surrounding him. This site has a lot of great information and would be a great springboard for further research. Make sure to include this site on any resource sheets concerning their research!
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Aviation Education: - Federal Aviation Administration

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6 to 12
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From the Federal Aviation Administration, this site includes links to many of the sites listed here. Also links to a skit written for elementary and middle school students, and ...more
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From the Federal Aviation Administration, this site includes links to many of the sites listed here. Also links to a skit written for elementary and middle school students, and instructions for building a 1903 Flyer out of Styrofoam. There is a downloadable Wright Brothers Curriculum Guide, and an Orville and Wilber Wright Activity Guide. The downside of this site is that nearly everything must be downloaded and cannot be previewed first, so you spend time waiting for the download without knowing what you're getting first.

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

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