The story of the Wright Brothers is an exciting beginning for this invitation to flight. They were the first to make powered, sustained and controlled flight a reality in a machine that was heavier-than-air. Ever since, scientists, technicians, and pilots have been expanding the realm of flight for commercial, military, and public interests. As children of the air age, students must understand that aviation has changed the way that we live in our society. They must be aware of the social concerns that air transportation has raised for the environment, learn of the career opportunities in aviation, and be conscience of questions of personal safety in the air. This unit is focused on three concepts—the Wright Brothers’ achievement, the pilot, and the development of the industry. Through this unit, students can become acquainted with the science of aerodynamics and technology making history.
This unit combines history and technology which affects our lives. The topic of technology serves as an introduction to flight and provides for student involvement with the topic of transportation. The science of flight is understood within the context of history and explains why a plane can fly. This, in turn, introduces the pilot and what he must know, the ratings and aviation careers. An overview of post-Wright aviation brings the student to the present and raises the issue of air safety.
The unit is designed to be used with upper eighth social studies classes in conjunction with the textbook, “The Western Hemisphere.” A study of air travel history and what makes air travel possible will provide a deeper understanding of the legacy left by the Wright Brothers. The class activities and fictional stories may be duplicated and given to students using “The U.S. and the Other Americas.”
(Recommended for Social Studies classes, grade 8)
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