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We wanted students to learn the physics of kite flying. The first thing we did was to give them each a kite from the 99 cent store and told them to make and fly the kite, and to figure out how to best arrange the strings, knots and tail to get the best performance. We gave them a few web sites (NASA has a great section on kites for example) and asked them to modify their kite and also to document it with an instructional poster.

Next we put them in groups of two. They took their 2 cheap kites plus some other materials such as straws, paper, tape, trash bags and such to make "Franken-kites". They took notes on what they did and how well the kites flew.
STUDENT NOTEBOOK PAGES

 

The Frankenstein kites and the notes led the students to design much better kites. We provided higher quality materials for this part!
FINAL POSTERS CONTAINING MATH AND PHYSICS

 

This was a 4 week section of a larger project, and physics was learned and taught along the way. As a stand alone unit it could be used to prepare students for a more challenging course on physics, pressure and fluid dynamics. The calendar we followed is shown below:

 

Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
18 MLK
19
20
21
22
 
Go Fly a kite, and write about and document your Experience
Go Fly a kite, and write about and document your Experience

​Start Poster
Poster check in, with all your teachers
Friday Poster Due
​in the Art Shared Drive
​25pt
25
26
27
28
29
Introduce Kite Making Project and Field Journal Guidelines.
Work on kite design with partner and develop their hypothesis or prediction for their kites. ​
Submit Kite Design for Approval by this date (all three instructors). ​
Work on producing first model of kite.
Completed the first kite model and tried it. ​
​25pt
February 1
2
3
4
5
Kite building Round 2

Kite Competition Brainstorming- Categories of competition, kinds of kites
Work on kite design with partner and develop their hypothesis or prediction for their kites. ​
Kite model round 3 in testing by this date. 

Competitions finalized (including categories for 5th graders kite flying day).
Work on Kite
Kite model and field journal completed and submitted
8
9
10
11
12
Kite flying competitions begin
Work on Kites
Kite Flying and competitions with 5th graders for 90 minutes.
Work on Kites
Final kite flying competition for finalists and winners announced. 

Project debrief and share of findings.