Our unit on Flight allowed me the luxury of pursuing some of my own personal interests.  I'm so glad the grade six curriculum includes it as a science unit because you can do so much with it.  We began simply by studying the concept of an airfoil and exploring the physics behind how planes fly.  We worked on many activities exploring lift, drag, gravity and thrust and kept these ideas in mind for our many explorations in this two week unit.  I managed to book a class trip to our local airport and we were fortunate enough to get a truly thorough tour of the Control Desk, airstrips, hangars, and a navigation equipment manufacturing company that had a facility on site.  The kids got to see all types of personal and commercial planes up close, examine the parts of aircraft and ask questions about their function, and meet some of the people who work at and maintain the airport.  It was fascinating.

The next part of the tour was superb.  We visited the production facility of Zennair, a local light aircraft producer.  These wonderful planes are built as kits and shipped around the world.  Our host, Chris Heinz, walked us through the plant and the kids stopped at each part of the assembly process.  The workers were happy to see us and put on a good show by doing their work efficiently and precisely. This very successful company highlighted for the kids that small businesses can thrive on hard work and high quality manufacturing.  Many of the students expressed a keen interest in pursuing an aviation career following the trip.

Our last component of the flight unit was to create rotating group work stations for further exploration in class.  The students created names for their groups and began a five day rotation.  (See more about this excellent teaching technique in the lesson plans section of this website.)  Overall, the Flight unit was one of the most rewarding and stimulating units I've taught in a long time.  If I can figure out how to hide an ultralight in my back yard, I'm all set.  I'll tell my wife it's a lawn ornament.


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