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Centennial of Flight:
Rediscovering the Challenges of Flight

NASA Subject Sampler

Contents of this page:

Related Links:

Events Page

Lesson Plans:

K-2 - Problems and Solutions in Aircraft Design

3-5 - Features and Limits of Aircraft Design

6-8 - Criteria and Constraints in Aircraft Design

9-12 - Testing and Refining Aircraft Design

Educator Resources



with permission from Nick Engler



The purpose of this NASA Subject Sampler is to present three engaging challenges to sample through the Internet and associated electronic activities and products which:
1.) Celebrate the past 100 years of flight,
2.) Examine the flight challenges being researched, and
3.) Imagine a what a flight careerin the 21st Century might be like.

The following links come from NASA , NASA-funded sites, and "sister" aeronautics organizations. The links represent a variety of aspects which celebrate a century of powered flight.

You may complete the following Internet activities alone or by working in a group. So, grab that computer mouse and join NASA for investigations that are meant to offer a stimulating opportunity to take a fresh look at the origins and evolution of aviation.

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The Pioneering Years

A Century of Firsts:

1. How well do you know your aerospace history facts? Check the information at each of the NASA links to answer the questions about significant events of the 20th Century.
2. Find answers to the Questions 1, 3, 4, and 5 from these online educational resource
3. Record your answers on a piece of notebook paper.

Wright Brothers History

1. Discover the challenges which the brothers faced as they attempted to achieve first flight.
2. List in chronological order the challenges and how they overcame them.

"Chat" with the Wright Brothers

1. Suppose you had a chance to ask questions of Orville and Wilbur Wright. What would you ask them? What would you like to know?
2. Generate a list of questions.
3. Sample from the list of archived chats and see what others asked. See whether your question was asked by another and was answered:

December 10, 1998
February 24, 1999
March 25, 1999
May 26, 1999
December 16, 1999
October 18, 2001

December 5, 2001
December 17, 2002
January 23, 2003

Process of Invention

1. Study your state's aviation and aerospace history. Discuss how the advances in aviation and aerospace during the past 100 years have affected you and your family.
2. Design a poster representing the history of aviation and aerospace in your Sstate.
3. Create a calendar with information about significant people, places, and historical aviation and aerospace events in your state.
4. Send an electronic copy of your poster and calendar to the Centennial of Flight Commission's Web site

Commemorating Flight

1. Select from the list of sister organizations to learn how they are saluting the first 100 years and what visions they are projecting for the next century of flight.
2. Find an activity that will occur in your state.

NASA Aerospace Technology Enterprise
US Centennial of Flight Commission
Federal Aviation Administration
American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics

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Engineering Challenges

Select one of the listed activities that best targets the grade level of students that you teach:

Aviation for Little Folks (K-4)
1. Read through the list of national science standards which this activity addresses.
2. Review the steps and associated web links to this activity.
3. Which national science standards are best met through this activity? Which standards need further attention with the activity? Discuss with a small group.

PlaneMath (4-7)
1. Choose one of the 12 activities.
2. Explore the contents of the activity including the lesson, "meet me", "group", and "teachers".
3. Evaluate how this might be used at your grade level.

Kids Corner Virtual Aeronautics Camp (5-8)
1. Visit the Online Model Shop
2. Explore the contents of the Shop's Filing Cabinet.
3. Next, click on the paper airplane model on the model table to visit the Design Lab
4. Decide on a model airplane to construct and print out a copy of the model and directions.
5. Build you model and test fly it. Compare flight capabilities with others who have constructed an identical model.

NASAexplores: Airport Efficiency (9-12)
1. Advanced Air Transportation Technologies will make airports work more efficiently to reduce delays, cancellations, and overcrowding.
2. Access the article, "Airport Efficiency," and associated lessons on this topic.
3. Print a copy of the article and one of the listed lessons.
4. Discuss how you might use the article and lesson in the classroom.

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Pursuing A Career

1. Brainstorm as many careers associated with flight as you can.
2. Divide into small groups to research and compare the different careers as well as the needed education. To get you started, select one of the following resources:

3. Select one of the listed activities that best targets the grade level of students that you teach.

Aeronautics Journalism (K-4)
a) Select a newsworthy current event or recreate a great moment in human history when a single accomplishment, discovery, or photograph forever changed how we see ourselves.
b) Develop a news report in one of the following media: print, audio tape, or VHS videotape.
c) Help NASA tell the story. Need help coming up with a story? Visit the NASA News Release Archives for a story starter.

Superstars of Modern Aeronautics (5-12)
On this poster are 12 "Superstars" of modern aeronautics, selected for their significant contributions to NASA's aeronautics programs over the past 50 years.

a) Scan the 12 biographies.
b) Note on paper the advice each "Superstar" has given to students.
c) Review the list of advice. What conclusions and commonalties might be drawn?

Consider a Career in Aerospace (5-12)
This poster was developed as a tool to be used to encourage your women to pursue careers in mathematics, science, engineering, and technology.
a) Print a copy of the poster and examine the perimeter of the poster and the women featured.
b) Check out the web site "Women of NASA" and read through the profiles of some of these featured women.
c) Prepare a list of appropriate questions that you might ask one of these women if you had the opportunity to participate in a real-time chat.
d) Finally, take a look at what an archive chat looks like. After reviewing the archived chat, discuss the chat and how one might utilize an archived chat in the classroom.


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NASA Express Mail

1. Review the listed sites and decide which are right for you.

2. Subscribe to NASA news and educational services.



For Kids

Liftoff to Space Exploration

For Educators

NASAexplores (K-12)
Thursday's Classroom (K-8)
Spacelink Express (K-12)
Instructional TV/Web Series NASA Why? Files (K-4)
NASA Quest (5-12)

Visit the NASA Education Homepage

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