November is National Aviation month and it's a perfect time to let your students imaginations take flight! This month was dedicated, so that the contributions and achievements of people who designed and improved these flying machines could be celebrated and explored.
Aeronautical and aerospace engineers design, manufacture and operate aircraft, spacecraft, missiles and rockets. We all know the major contribution the Wright brothers made to the field of aviation, but these engineering fields can be traced all the way back to the time of Leonardo DaVinci. DaVinci was not only an artist, but also an inventor. Most of his inventions were designed around war, but his most famous, perhaps, is said to be the ancestor to the helicopter.
The aerial screw was designed to compress air to obtain flight, similar to today's helicopter. For more information on this inventions and other of DaVinci's many ideas, visit Da-vinci-inventions.com!
There are many STEM concepts that we can focus on when teaching our children about aviation. Aerodynamics is one of them. It's the study of air and the interaction between the air and solid bodies moving through it, like an airplane wing for example. Below are two simple activities that you can do with your students to teach them how drag,lift,thrust and gravity are important when flying a successful paper airplane!
Let's Make a Paper Airplane!
There are two websites that I would check out for this activity. The first comes from the Scholastic website. All you will need is paper, tape, and a tape measure. The idea is to have your students see who can fly their airplane the farthest and who can keep it in the air the longest!
Another website that you can also use is the Paper Plane Depot site. This is an awesome website that gives you instructions on how to make all types of paper airplanes and includes tips and troubleshooting suggestions. It will allow your students to pick what they think is the best design for distance and hang-time!
Whichever activity your chose it will be a fun way to get your students excited about aviation and aerodynamics!