Saturday Morning Science with…flight!

Ever wanted to do a kite program but felt too worried about the prospect of wind/no wind? Well, I found a recipe for kites that work INDOORS. No air required–just space to run.

Here’s the kite and instructions. I laid this out as an unprogram, of course, with examples of each step on two separate tables. I also put out all the necessary tools next to each step where they would be used.

table 1-kites

In addition to making kites, I also set-up a couple stations to make different kinds of paper airplanes and test how far each type would fly. My volunteers helped me tape off measurements on the floor to see where they landed. Kids could even have a contest this way.

airplanesFinally, I prepared a quick powerpoint presentation with some simple definitions of thrust, drag, weight, and lift–the four forces affecting flight. My intention was to talk about these things before setting off, if it was age appropriate for the crowd.

I wound up getting 6 kids ages 6 and under. While I think 5 and 6 year olds can understand the concepts of forces of flight, a presentation is really far from what they need. Instead, I sat with them and went through the steps of making the kite, talking about measuring with a ruler and creating lines and shapes as I went. This was really interesting to watch, because they actually loved learning about using a ruler and making sense of all the little lines on them. A couple even started helping the kids around them. For each step, I showed them the example and asked what they thought we should do next. They would turn the paper over, explore with unfolding parts and wiggling things. It was great for them, and, of course, I gave helpful hints when it was needed.

When they were all finished, there was a giddy five minutes of everyone running in circles around the room. Even the smallest girl, age 4, was able to get hers in the air when the big kids helped.

A few boys also tried their hands at making paper airplanes and did a great job of figuring out the simpler design pictured above.Then, to my surprise, they wanted to draw on the airplanes. Why didn’t I think of that? I retrieved crayons and markers and let them go to town.

It was a quiet, rewarding, and informative program for me. We didn’t have as many kids as I would have liked but I really believe they all learned something and the creativity and thought they showed was so worthwhile. I loved providing this chance to explore science and math for these little guys (and girls). complete kite

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