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A unit study written by Karen Caroe
Curriculum: KONOS Character Curriculum Volume One by
Carole Thaxton and Jessica Hulcy.
Books: Amelia Earhart: Aviation Pioneer by Roxane Chadwick. Lerner
Publications Company, 1987.
They Gave Us Wings: The Wright Brothers by Charles Ludwig. Mott Media
(The Sowers Series) 1985.
Science Fun with Toy Boats and Planes by Rose Wyler. Juliann Messner,
pub. 1986. (This is a great book with patterns for paper airplanes.)
101 Great Science Experiments Dorling-Kindersley Family Learning (DKFL).
Disaster! Catastrophies that Shook the World DKFL
The Visual Dictionary of Flight (DKFL) This is a great book and good for
use with Middle School and up.
Mighty Machines: Airplane (DKFL)
There are other DK books that are suitable for this unit and are available for
different age groups.
Videos: Eyewitness: Flight. This is a video by DK but is available
through a distributor or a retail bookstore.
The Spirit of St. Louis. This video is available in rental stores or the
Around the World in 80 Days. This is about hot air balloon flight. We didn't
study that as much but the movie is a classic and we enjoyed it.
Background: Begin the unit by having your children answer the
1) What kinds of things fly?
2) What do those things have in common?
3) Why does an airplane stay in the sky?
4) Why does a bird stay in the sky?
5) What does something need to be able to fly?
These questions will give you a jumping off point to find out what your children
think about flight.
The following are a list of activities by subject area. When creating a unit,
you should select the activities that will best meet your needs and goals. Put
together a weeks activities from several areas of study.
Science: This unit works best if you can spend about a week studying air.
The KONOS book lists several experiments to try. There are numerous Science
books that will give you experiments to do with air. They are really
fascinating, simple, and delight the children. Some things you should know about
1) What is it made up of?
2) Does it take up space? Does it have weight?
3) Is air affected by heat? By cold?
4) What kind of work does air do?
You should understand vacuum and air pressure.
You MUST understand the Bernoulli Principle.
**Now before you give up, these really are simple questions to answer and there
are many simple science experiments to prove the answers. If you get stuck,
e-mail me. Don't give up! This is really fun.
*Give your children a list of Vocabulary words each week. Either Airplane
terms (if that is what you concentrate on) or Flying terms. It is best to take
the list from your reading or from words that will be used in discussions.
*Use your vocabulary words to practice dictionary skills, writing (use the words
in a story or composition), and spelling.
*Read about Amelia Earhart. Have your child write (or dictate to you) a paper on
what they think really happened to her.
*Read a biography of the Wright Brothers.
*Learn more about other famous pilots and what made them famous. ( Chuck Yeager,
*What kind of character qualities do pilots have in common? Give an oral report.
*Study some mythology about flying--especially the myth of Daedalus. For older
learners: why is this just a myth? Why can't it be true? Write a report.
*Have children make a notebook of what they learn. Include notes/reports/photos
of field trips, designs of airplanes, samples of paper airplanes, data/analysis
sheets of experiments, all their writings and vocabulary, anything else you do.
Math: Have your child calculate how far it is from one airport to
another. (For example, From Los Angeles to Dallas).
Give your child hypothetical information like how many miles per gallon and
airplane gets and/or how many miles per hour a plane flies. Have them figure how
much gas and/or how long it will take to get from point A to point B.
Do the same giving information for a car. Have the child compare the two.
Geography: Give your child a map of the U.S. Have them pinpoint major US
airports. Does every state have one? What might be some difficulties
(environmental, geographical, etc) for flying into that airport? For older
students, have them go from US to Europe or elsewhere.
More Science: Now that you know about air and the Bernoulli Principle,
explain exactly how an airplane really does fly.
History: Make a timeline of "flying machines", inventions,
inventors up to the modern day plane. Note how each invention--even the
failures--built upon what was learned. (This is really evident in the Wright
Brothers book referenced above.)
Have older students research flying failures.
For those who can handle it without fear, study some flying disasters. What was
the problem? Why did it happen?
Learn about helicopters. How are they different from airplanes?
Arts and Crafts: Make several different models of paper airplanes. Use
different weights of paper, different sizes, etc. Test fly and compare.
Draw an airplane and label the parts. Turn it into a game. Leave the parts
seperate on cards and see if you can place them correctly. We did this as a
Make-Your-Own GeoSafari game. It was very effective.
Have younger children make a mobil of things that fly. Cut pictures from
magazines or let them make their own.
Field Trips: There are numerous field trips available ranging from free
* Visit an airport. Notice the gates, security, air traffic control, etc.
* Take a hot air balloon ride. ($$$)
* If you know someone who flies or you live near a flight school, see if you can
tour the inside of a plane and the cockpit. Notice the controls, parts of the
plane, etc. (Hint: It helps to be familiar with all of this before you go.)
* Take a helicopter ride. ($$$)
* Visit a science museum that has a section on flight.
Related topics: To expand this unit, check some of the following
possibilities. Birds, Space program, Butterflies, Kite flying, rocket ships. A
related unit suggested by KONOS is Floating (Boats, etc.)
comments, and suggestions, Please e-mail Heather at firstname.lastname@example.org.