Flying Fancies


Throughout this course students will be developing two separate booklets: a timeline of human flight and an inventor’s notebook.

The timeline will record significant dates in the history of aviation. Children will be encouraged to add to these on their own to create their own story of this part of our history.

The Inventors Notebook will be the place to record their design decisions as they create various flying machines. They will also use it to record details of their inspiration and evaluations of their designs.

Part 1: Ancient Greece

Welcome to ancient Greece, where nobody has ever flown – Ever! Well, except in stories, that is! Why do we have stories about people flying? We examine the story of Icarus and Daedalus and the symbolism of wings in Greek myth. Children will create a model of Icarus and his wings of wax, and have a mini-book version of the story to take home to tell the story again. Then we will swing by Hermes and his wings. What did they mean? And what did the Ancient Greeks do to worship him?

Parents should be aware that making the wax wings will involve children using lighted candles. This will be done one-on-one to minimise risk.

Part 2: Da Vinci and the Birds

Leonardo da Vinci said “A Bird is an instrument working according to mathematical law, which is within the capacity of man to reproduce”. We look closely at flight in the natural world, examining birds, seeds, and mammals that fly, and seeing if we can use any of those ideas in our designs. Then we experiment with the only thing that reliably flew at this time: kites.

Part 3&4: Early Aviators

Before powered flight there was hot air balloons, hang gliders and even parachutes. Students will be able to experiment with making a variety of models of these contraptions. What works? What doesn’t? Then gliders from assorted materials, including the unusual meat tray glider, and one that needs to be released slingshot style! We will also map and timeline the flights of some of the early aviators, such as Amelia Earhart and Charles Kingsford Smith.

Parents should be aware that we may launch a lighted hot air balloon as a demonstration. However this will depend on weather conditions and students.

Part 5: The Final frontier

Yes, to space! We will build two different types of rockets. One small, and one big! The small is chemically powered, the large is water pressure powered.

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