TeachersFirst's Man Soars Into Flight - Resources

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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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Stories of the Wrights' Flight - Smithsonian

Grades
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 (32), wright brothers (19)

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

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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 (147), flight (32), oil (40)

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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Basics of Space Flight - Cal Tech

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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 (32), rockets (17), space (225)

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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 (35), flight (32), wright brothers (19)

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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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 (147), aircraft (25), aviation (35), flight (32), wright brothers (19)

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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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 (35), north carolina (4), wright brothers (19)

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 (147), aviation (35), inventors and inventions (90), wright brothers (19)

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Flight History

Grades
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 (147), aircraft (25), aviation (35)

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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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 (147), aircraft (25), aviation (35), flight (32)

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

Grades
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 (147), aircraft (25), flight (32), presidents (123)

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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