Submitting Organization: Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
Grade Level: 3rd Grade
Subject Area: Engineering
Standards Alignment: Next Generation Science Standards
Objective: Students will recognize the four forces of flight & determine their interaction with design to influence an object in flight.
Assessment: Students fly rotocopters and identify the four forces that influence the rotocopters in flight.
- Students examine the elements of the natural world that influenced plane design.
- Students create rotocopters, test them, add weight & adjust the “blades”– making observations & inferences about how they work/how adjustments in weight, blade angle, etc. impact function.
- Discuss drag, thrust, lift & gravity, and watch Four Forces video.
- Once students are comfortable with the four forces and how those forces act on an airplane, re-test roto-copters and note how the four forces combine with the design for function.
- What things in nature fly?
- What did humans observe and copy to achieve flight?
- What parts of birds were inspiration for plane design?
- What does an aircraft need to fly? (Chances are students will list physical items like wings, wheels, propeller, etc.)
- Tell students: To fly, an aircraft needs these parts, but it is the four forces that permit the aircraft to fly.
- List the four forces and say that this program will involve learning about the forces and how they affect the use of different aircraft.
- Rotocopter cutouts (you can find a free template here)
- Coloring materials (optional)
- Other materials, like models and airfoil cross sections, can be used based on availability and educator preference.
- Bird puppet (optional)
- Model of an airplane (jet or propelled)
Links to further resources:
- Video on Four Forces here: http://youtu.be/n8NeW6A-LR4
- Rotocopter cutouts here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-kzqkH_xBkoRGlFRjRYc0lHU0k/view?usp=sharing