# Physics in Everyday Life

## CONTENTS OF CURRICULUM UNIT 03.04.02

## The Physics of Flight

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## Lesson 2

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Objective
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The students will work with a partner to construct a 'glider' with a straw, strips of paper, and translucent tape.

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Materials
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Each pair of students needs:

- a plastic drinking straw
- two strips of paper
- four pieces of translucent tape
- student science journals (any notebook or bound pages will work)
- a glider for the teacher with two additional paper strips

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Procedure
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Introduction: Explain to the students that they will be constructing gliders out of some familiar materials. As a class, quickly brainstorm the different shapes that they have seen for gliders of the types or shapes they think would work the best for gliding. Stress that there is no correct or incorrect way of doing so but that they will need to record what they do and what they observe in their Science Journals. They will also need to test their design several times to make sure the results are consistent. Before the students begin, have a brief discussion reminding the students how to work well with a partner.

- 1. Distribute the materials following whatever procedure is set up in class for this.
- 2. The students should be sitting with their partners and can begin working as soon as they have all of their materials. Set an amount of time that they will be able to work on their own models and let the students know how much time they have.
- 3. Students will try many ways of fastening the strips of paper to the straw and may need additional strips of paper or additional pieces of tape, have some on hand for quick distribution. Observe the students as they work
- 4. The completed version of the glider should be the straw with a strip of paper in a loop taped to each end of the straw. Allow at least 15 minutes for the students to experiment with their own designs, write in their journals, and record their observations.
- 5. Once time for the students to work is up, have a few of the partners share with the class what they discovered about making and flying their own gliders. After this brief discussion, show the class a model of the glider that was built ahead of time with the two loops on either end of the straw. Tell the students that you would like to see how adding one and then two more loops will change how the glider works.
- 6. Create a chart where the observations can be recorded. The chart should have a spot to write down the distance traveled for each of three test runs for each of the glider designs (3 in total). Have one of the students fly the glider and the rest of the class make observations on exactly what the glider did. Then have the student fly the glider at least two more times and add to the observations as needed. Then add another loop of paper right in the center of the straw and repeat the flying tests in the same way as before. Then create a fourth loop of paper and adjust the glider so that there are four loops evenly spaced along the straw. Conduct the flight tests in the same manner as with the two other designs.

Closure: Now, as a class, compare and contrast how the three different glider designs worked. Encourage students to think about what was happening to the glider as more loops were added to the straw. Ask the students which design they thought worked the best and why.

Extension: If there is time, or at another time, give the students some additional materials and tell them to add on to their existing glider. Have them make observations in their journal to see how these additions change the way the glider works.