Explore Flight! With 25 Great Projects
By Anita Yasuda
Illustrated by Bryan Stone
Have you ever been in a plane 30,000 feet above the earth, sipping on ginger ale, munching on peanuts, and thought to yourself, this is crazy? I have. But maybe it’s just because I don’t always love to fly! The way we fly today, going wherever we want to go—around the world, into space—is a remarkably incredible feat of engineering, and one that we’ve become accustomed to. Imagine if the Wright Brothers could see us now: sitting on an airplane with 200 other passengers, seat belts fastened, movies playing on our iPads, beverage carts in the aisle, headed for vacation in Hawaii!
For STEM Friday this week we’re featuring one of our newest tiles, Explore Flight! With 25 Great Projects for kids ages 6-9. It’s a perfect STEM topic, given the history of our fascination with flight, dating back to the invention of kites in China in 1000 BCE. We’ve come a long way since then, to say the least! Have you ever tried to explain to a kid how planes stay up in the air? It’s a combination of lift, gravity, thrust, and drag. When all four of these forces are in balance, an object, like a plane, can fly. Simple, right? Ha! Yes, in theory. It’s simple for birds. They’re naturally designed to balance these forces. But lots and lots of trials (and many, many errors!) have occurred in order for humans to make airplanes one of the safest modes of travel today.
Our fascination with flight has made the universe a much smaller place while answering many questions but opening up so many more. How we fly, where we fly, what we fly, and why we fly will only continue to evolve, push boundaries, and raise questions, which is why this topic is so relevant to STEM education!
Take the latest news headlines for example. You can’t miss the debate over drones. Are we perhaps pushing technology too far? How will we use our ability to fly in ten years? 20? Our children will soon be considering, debating, and solving these questions!
Today’s post is part of STEM Friday, a weekly round-up of children’s science, engineering, math and technology books.
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It’s STEM Friday! (STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)
Happy STEM Friday to all!
Jane at Nomad