In the last few weeks third graders have been studying the intrinsic allure of flying to humans throughout history. It began by studying Leonardo DaVinci’s dreamt up flying machines drawn in 1500 and ended with observing the flying machines engineered by today’s dreamers.
As students observed, discussed and began to consider design elements to add to their own flying machines, we talked about the role nature plays in the designs we studied. Students noticed that many of the designs replicated the body’s of flying squirrels, birds and bats. Together they made the connection between nature and many technologies that nature inspires.
This week students drafted plans for their own flying machines that are symmetrical and 3 dimensional and began building. Groups are collaborating, using their creativity and communicating with partners. One student told me that his job was to move about the room to see what ideas he could bring back to his group that others are finding successful.
In the coming weeks, students will be testing their designs by videotaping them to see how long they stay in the air. This data will be compiled and analyzed to use for improvements. The culminating event will be a group send off of the flying machines in a competition-like atmosphere.