Lesson Plan for Airplane Anatomy: Helping Orville and Wilbur Assemble the 1903 Flyer
By assembling online puzzles, students learn to identify the parts of a modern DC-3 airplane and the parts of the 1903 Wright Flyer. Students are introduced to how the parts function to make the airplane fly. This online lesson is suitable for pre-readers.
Grade Level: K-3
Time Needed: 2-3 half-hour sessions
National Educational Standards Addressed by This Activity:
NATIONAL SCIENCE EDUCATION STANDARDS, Content Standard E As a result of activities in grades K-3, all students should develop
1. Introduce the Wright brothers to the children by reading one of these books to the class:
Explain that the Wright brothers are remembered and celebrated for two reasons:
3. Using a projector or large monitor, show children these photographs of the Wright Flyer:
4. In this online lesson, students assemble puzzles of two airplanes: the first is a modern-looking airplane, a DC-3; the second is the 1903 Wright Flyer. Depending upon your students' age and their abilities to work independently, you may choose to organize this lesson in one of these ways:
1. Help Orville and Wilbur Wright Assemble the 1903 Flyer
2. Put Together the Parts of an Airplane
3. The Parts of the Airplane Work Together to Make it Fly
4. Put Together the World's First Airplane
5. The 1903 Wright Flyer: Built to Fly, Part by Part
6. Today's Airplanes Still Have the "Wright" Parts
If you choose to do this lesson offline, print the following activities:
DC-3 Color by Number
Wright Flyer Color by Number
Discussion and Reflection
After viewing Today's Airplanes Still Have the "Wright" Parts, hold a class discussion about the differences between the DC-3 and the Wright Flyer, which had no cockpit, no seat for the pilot, was made of wood, not metal, had no wheels, etc.
1. Visit a local airport and get a first-hand look at airplanes and their parts.
2. Purchase a Wright Flyer model kit from a hobby shop and make a class project of assembling the airplane. Visit the "Inventing Flight for Schools" site for airplane models and supplies.
3. The Los Angeles Section of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics has built a precise replica of the 1903 Flyer. Learn about the "Wright Flyer Project." http://www.wrightflyer.org/
4. Learn about the restoration and reassembly of the Wright Brothers' 1911 Model B biplane by visiting the "Franklin Institute Online."
5. For Math extension activities, visit "NASM's Milestones of Flight" airandspace.si.edu/exhibitions/gal100/
wright1903.html and learn the dimensions of the 1903 Flyer and length of various flights on December 17, 1903. Then have the class participate in these math activities:
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