Science is a new way to teach middle school science. It is an
award-winning, standards-based program in which newsworthy events
establish the relevance of science topics; authentic tasks create the
need-to-know more about those topics; and lively interviews,
photographs, Web pages, and inquiry-based science activities create a
desire to know more about those topics.
First Flight! is an Event-Based
Science module about how airplanes fly. It uses the Wright brother's
first controlled, powered, heavier-than-air flight* and other firsts in
aviation to establish the context for exploring physical-science
concepts related to flight. The task in First Flight! places
students in the roles of airplane designers. Students will acquire then
use their knowledge of lift, drag, thrust, and gravity to design a new
airplane. The airplane they design will compete in an Air Show at the
end of the unit.
*The first flight took place in
1783, the first powered flight in 1854, the first powered
heavier-than-air flight in 1890. The Wright brothers were the first to
successfully add control to powered, heavier-than-air
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As with all
Event-Based Science modules, much of the information that students need
is provided in the pages of First Flight!. However, more
information is needed. Information about real airplanes will add to the
authenticity of your study. Information about real airplanes will also
add to the authenticity of final products.
Below are some World-Wide
Web sites where additional information is available. Click on the
highlighted words and be linked with helpful sites.
Links to First
Flight! related WEB Sites
(Links are checked monthly. They were
working on the day of the last update.)
Flyer Online this NASA educational web site permits students to
conduct real-time science. In March 1999, a model of the 1903 Wright
Flier---the first airplane to make a successful powered and piloted
flight---is scheduled for tests in the world's largest wind tunnel
complex at NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA. Tests are to
be conducted to ensure that a replica to be built by a non-profit
institute can safely be flown by a pilot on Dec. 17, 2003, the
hundredth anniversary of Orville and Wilbur Wright's first flight.
Centennial of Flight Commission The Centennial of Flight
Commission serves as a national and international source of information
about activities to commemorate the centennial of the Wright Brothers'
first powered flight on the sands at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, on
December 17, 1903.
History You probably know NASA for being behind our nation's
very successful space program. But, did you know that NASA stands for
the National Aeronautics and Space Administration? Aeronautics
is the science of flight. By studying why and how airplanes fly,
scientists and engineers can design and improve them. Every airplane
that you have seen or flown on is made possible by the study of
We highly recommend
Guide to Aerodynamics. At this Web
site you can study aerodynamics at your own pace and to your own level
of interest. Some of the topics included are: Newton's basic equations of motion; the motion of
a free falling object, that neglects
the effects of aerodynamics; the terminal velocity of a falling object
subject to both weight and air resistance; the three forces
(lift, drag, and weight) that act on a glider; and finally, the four
forces that act on a powered airplane. Because aerodynamics
involves both the motion of the object and the
reaction of the air, there are several pages devoted to basic gas properties and how those
properties change through the atmosphere.
Plane MathDesigned for students in grades 4-7 interested in
aeronautics-related careers. Includes nine lessons on such issues as
plane capacity, time zones, and flight planning. Extensive background
information on the concepts behind the site is available for teachers
This site has been in operation since July 1996, just two weeks before
the crash of TWA Flight 800. Since its inception, the goals of
AirSafe.com have been to provide the aviation safety community and the
general public with factual and timely information on events that
involve the deaths of airline passengers. AirSafe.com also provides
fatal event information by airline and aircraft model, as well as
information about current aviation safety issues.
Vectors After completing a number of pilot training lessons in
which students learn how to use vectors, read real time weather maps,
and track real planes flying in U.S. skies, students then put their
knowledge to the test by taking the Pilot Test Flight. Here they will
solve an authentic real world problem using science and mathematics.
(This project is developed and managed by the Center for Improved
Engineering and Science Education (CIESE) which is located at
Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey.)
Welcome to Hang
GlidingSee the sites, meet the pilots, and find
everything you ever wanted to know about the greatest flying sport on
earth! Hang Gliding!
Leonardo This excellent website offers resources for learning
about Leonardo da Vinci, one of the best known, yet least known about,
characters in world history. Explore this site and learn some
fascinating things that are known about this scientist, inventor, and
These sites were recommended by
students of Lindsey Weiss:
Unofficial Tuskegee Airmen Home PageThis is an
unofficial home page on the Tuskegee Airmen. It was started by R.
Russell Nakatsu a social studies teacher and technology specialist for
Sequoia Junior High School in the Kent, Washington, School District.
The page was started after an inspiring presentation by William H.
Holloman III at Sequoia Junior High. The page is designed as a starting
point for students researching the Tuskegee Airmen. There are links to
many other sources of information about these heroes of World War II.
Event-Based Science developer Dr. Russ Wright--the other
Wright Brother--stands in front of the original Wright Cycle Shop.
In 1937, Henry Ford moved the shop to it's present location in Greenfield Village, Dearborn, MI.
Bicycles and wheels hang from the ceiling of the
shop. The bicycle was built by the Wright Brothers.