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Putting It All Together

In this lesson, students discover why the Wright Brothers chose the Outer Banks of North Carolina to conduct their flight experiments, how they achieved controlled powered flight in 1903, and how their accomplishments have been commemorated. The following activities will help them apply what they have learned.

Activity 1: Designing a Glider
Using the information in the lesson plan as well as other reference materials on the principles of flight (the National Air and Space Museum's online exhibit "How Things Fly" may provide students with a good starting point), have groups of students design and build a small glider (materials may include paper, toothpicks or popsicle sticks, fabric, etc.). When the gliders are complete, have each group explain the aerodynamic principles used in the design. Then have the groups conduct flying experiments to determine which design is the most successful. Hold a classroom discussion about possible reasons for that glider's success.

Activity 2: The Impact of Airplanes
Remind students that even though we take for granted the ability to fly anywhere in the world today, human flight is a very recent development in our history. Divide students into four groups and ask each group to research the role of airplanes in one of the following categories: World War I, World War II, Commerce and Industry, or Passenger Transportation during the first half of the 20th century. Groups may want to begin their research by examining some of the websites listed in the Supplementary Resources section of this lesson. Ask each group to present their findings in an oral or written report, and then hold a classroom discussion on the worldwide impact of the Wright brothers' accomplishments.

Activity 3: Honoring Achievements in the Local Community
Explain to students that local citizens of the Outer Banks were the driving force behind the erection of the monument honoring the Wright brothers' achievements. Without local community support the Wright brothers' work might not have the same level of recognition and status that it does today. Working in groups, have students research a local effort to commemorate an important person or event in their own community. They should consider the following in their research: Who/what is the person/event being honored? How did the person/event impact the community? How is the person/event memorialized (commemorative plaque, building name, statue, museum exhibit, etc.)? Who spearheaded the commemorative effort? Did it receive widespread local support? What kind of publicity did the commemoration receive? Is the monument or memorial still important to the community today? How can you tell? Ask students to design an exhibit to present their group's findings and post all the exhibits for others to see.

 

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National Park Service arrowhead with link to NPS website.