Wizards of Wright logo

WOW! in the Classroom

Flight - Testing Weight and Balance

Students should already know a little something about:
 - the Four Forces of Flight (lift, thrust, drag, and weight)

This activity is designed to help students learn about the components of an aircraft and to examine the effects of weight and balance on a glider.  We continue with our information on the Wright Brothers and review the comparison between gliders and airplanes, wing design and the importance of weight and balance.

(Most appropriate for grade levels 5-10.)

NOTE: If requesting both of our Flight lessons (this one and Forces of Flight – Glider Testing) this one should be scheduled second.

Lesson Time: 60 minutes

Student Activity 1: Students will take their knowledge about flight and aircraft and put it into action. Students will build and test paper airplanes, examining the lift, thrust, drag, and weight of their plane, and how it affects the height and time of the flight, and the landing.

Student Activity 2: Students will cut the template of a glider out of Styrofoam and assemble their gliders by inserting the wings and elevator into the fuselage. They will run multiple tests with their gliders, adjusting the weight and balance, to test for the greatest distance.

Group work: There is no group work in this activity, students will be working on their own.  If you feel that working with partners would be beneficial for your class, please assign partners before our Wizard arrives.

Standards:
7.PS.3: Energy can be transformed or transferred but is never lost.
7.PS.4: Energy can be transferred through a variety of ways.
8.PS.2: Forces can act to change the motion of objects.

HS:
P.F.1: Newton’s laws applied to complex problems.
P.F.5: Air resistance and drag.
PS.FM.2: Forces • Force diagrams • Types of forces (gravity, friction, normal, tension) • Field model for forces at a distance.
PS.FM.3: Dynamics (how forces affect motion) • Objects at rest • Objects moving with constant velocity • Accelerating objects
.