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Project Description: This project-based scientific inquiry project: How Do Airplanes Fly? is centered on airplane design and flight control components. It requires students to apply knowledge from physics, mathematics, engineering, technology and computing to solve problems. In this project, students work in small groups to explore and research different types of airplanes, key concepts of why an airplane can fly, turn and be stable, flight control components, and the associated physics and engineering principles. Then, students design a type of an airplane and test their design.

Overview of Project 4: How Do Airplanes Fly?
Subject Content Engineering, Science, Math, Computer Science, Technology
Learning Objectives 1. Students will explore and investigate how airplanes fly
2. Students will design and build various airplanes and study the effects of the four forces on these airplanes.
Final Products Completed airplanes, group presentation on their experience and newfound knowledge
Driving Question: How do airplanes fly?
Sample Sub-questions 1. How does an airplane fly?
2. How does an airplane stay in the sky?
3. What are the four forces that affect flight?
4. How do you control an airplane? Roll? Yaw? Pitch?
5. How do propellers work?
6. How do we design an airplane for a successful flight?
7. How can we test our airplanes for longest distance and air time?
Activities - Determine what makes an airplane flies
- Research information on airplane parts and design
- Explain the four forces that affect flight
- Research wings and the importance of specific wing design
- Build paper airplanes
- Design styrofoam gliders
- Create rubber band propellers
- Test airplane designs in a windtunnel
- Test airplane designs for distance and flight time
Assessment 1. Formative (for revision purpose): Weekly evaluation of the students on their understanding of the activities completed during the week - both written and oral.

2. Summative: Assessment/evaluation on students learning at the end of the 8 weeks project, for example the Final Airplane Designs and Presentations.
Tools & Resources Project website, Flight project guide, learning videos, paper, styrofoam, rubber bands, wind tunnel, various websites and simulations
Standards aligned 1. Science: National Science Education Standards (NSES, 1996)
2. Engineering: NEXT Generation Science Standards (NGSS, 2013)
3.Information and Communication Technology: Idaho Content Standards (ICS, 2007)
4. Math: Common Core State Standard (CCSS, 2010)
5. 21st Century Skills: 
Common Core State Standard (CCSS, 2010)

Weekly Activities Outline


Week 1 Activities

Overall Guiding Question: How do airplanes fly?

Sub Question: How do airplanes take off and stay in the sky?

Questions

Goal

Activities

Resources

Outcomes

Session 1



How do airplanes fly?


How do airplanes take off and stay in the sky?


-To understand the project


-To understand the problem solving process

-Watch videos on flight


-Overview of airplane project

-Create team mission patches/airplane logos

-Create paper airplanes for distance and airtime and collect data

Video on Airplanes and Flight

Paper Airplane Websites with instructions

Journal Keeping

Project Goal

Paper airplane design

Session 2


How do planes take off and stay in the sky?

How does the design of the plane affect flight?

- To understand the design process


-To understand the four forces of flight

- Redesign the paper airplanes


Flight interactive


Bill Nye Video

Redesigned airplane



Week 2 Activities

Questions

Goal

Activities

Resources

Outcomes

Session 1


What are the four forces affecting flight?

What is the Bernoulli Principle?


How do wings keep the airplane in the air?


What is the effect of weight and balance on flight?

-To the four forces on flight


-To understand the the Bernoulli Principle and how it affects flight


-Four forces of flight interactive and discussion


-Bernoulli activities


-Weight and Balance Discussion


-Create styrofoam gliders

Interactive


Background reading


Glider instructions

Journal


Constructed glider


Session 2


What is an airfoil?


What is the optimum wing design?


How do wings work?

-To understand what an airfoil is


-To determine the best design for a wing and understand how wings work

-Review of last session


-Jigsaw activity on the four forces



Internet research sites



Presentations


Journal notes


Week 3 Activities

Questions

Goal

Activities

Resources

Outcomes

Session 1


How does each of the four forces affect flight?  


How do they counteract each other?


How does the shape of the wing affect flight?

-To understand the four forces affecting airplanes in flight


-To understand the impact the shape of the wing has on flight

-control flight activity


-Foilism simulator


-Lift Web Page and worksheet

Internet Resources


Simulator

Journal notes



Session 2


What does Pitch, Roll, Yaw each mean?


How can we control them on an airplane?

-To understand why we use a wind tunnel for flight testing


-To explain wing performance


- To test wing performance

-Pitch, Roll, Yaw Controlled Flight activity


-Background on gliders using Flight Guide


-Build Delta Wing gliders

Internet Resources


Glider Instructions

Journal notes

Gliders



Week 4 Activities

Questions

Goal

Activities

Resources

Outcomes

Session 1


What does Pitch, Roll, Yaw each mean?


How can we control them on an airplane?

-To understand the definition of pitch, roll, and yaw


-To understand how pitch, roll, and yaw can be controlled on an airplane

- Continued gliders from last session


-Have them fly the Cessna (basic) , then the Wingman, or Acrobatics

Glider instructions

Data


Journal Notes

Session 2


How do we measure the performance of a wing using a wind tunnel?

-To understand how a wind tunnel works and why it is used


-To be able to test their planes using a wind tunnel

-Wind Tunnel videos


-Test styrofoam gliders in wind tunnel and record data

Wind Tunnel


Videos

Wind Tunnel data


Journal Notes


Week 5 Activities

Questions

Goal

Activities

Resources

Outcomes

Session 1


What is the role of propellers in flight?


How do propellers work?

-To understand the role of propellers in flight

-Propeller Videos and questions


-Make rubber band propellers

Videos


Materials for propellers

Propeller powered airplanes


Journal Notes

Session 2

How can I design my glider for best flight in distance and airtime?

-To understand the design process

-Design and test gliders

Materials

Glider design and test results


Week 6 Activities

Questions

Goal

Activities

Resources

Outcomes

Session 1


How can I redesign my glider for best flight in distance and airtime?

-To understand the design process

-Redesign and test gliders


Record results

materials

Glider design and test results

Session 2


How can I redesign my glider for best flight in distance and airtime?

-To understand the design process

-Redesign and test gliders


- Record results

-Redesign and test gliders

Glider design and test results


Week 7 Activities

Questions

Goal

Activities

Resources

Outcomes

Session 1


How can I redesign my glider for best flight in distance and airtime?

-To understand the design process

-Redesign and test gliders


Record results

Internet

Glider design and test results

Session 2


How can I redesign my glider for best flight in distance and airtime?

-To understand the design process

-Redesign and test gliders


Record results

-Redesign and test gliders

Glider design and test results


Week 8 Activities

Questions

Goal

Activities

Resources

Outcomes

Session 1

How can I redesign my glider for best flight in distance and airtime?

-To understand the design process

-Redesign and test gliders


Record results

-Redesign and test gliders

Glider design and test results

Session 2

Who designed the glider for the best distance and airtime?

Schedule 60 minutes for the team competition - then 20

Summary / Debriefing/Student focus group

-To understand the design process

(Competition)

Competition


Winner Celebration

-Redesign and test gliders

Glider design and test results

Each group debriefing



This project is supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) under Grant Number 1640228. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this project are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. Please contact Dr. Dazhi Yang at dazhiyang@boisestate.edu if you have questions.