Hovering Helicopters

Hovering Helicopters lesson plan

To the rescue on land or sea! Put out the fire! Deliver heavy cargo! Design a 3-D model helicopter and discover how they fly.

  • 1.

    Helicopters were first designed in the 1930s for military use. They were widely used for the first time in the Korean War. Flying a helicopter takes hours of training and great skill.

  • 2.

    Have you noticed that helicopters can fly forward, backward, sideways, straight up, and straight down? They can also hover and stop in mid air. Find out more about their unique maneuvering capabilities. Look at pictures and view films to learn about how helicopters fly. Read about the lifting force provided by the main rotor. Why is the tail rotor important to keep the helicopter flying straight?

  • 3.

    What kind of helicopter model would you like to make? What work will it do? Use your imagination along with these ideas to make a realistic replica.

  • 4.

    Crumple aluminum foil to create an armature (lightweight form). Shape the foil into a helicopter body, tail boom, and drive shaft for the main rotor.

  • 5.

    Cover the foil with a layer of brightly colored Crayola® Model Magic. Use two or three colors if you wish. Mix them to create new hues. Blend in white Model Magic for tints. Air-dry the helicopter at least 24 hours.

  • 6.

    On white paper, use Crayola Twistables to draw and color your helicopter’s main rotor and tail rotor. Use Crayola Scissors to cut them out. Push a toothpick through the main rotor. Attach it to the drive shaft. Push another toothpick through the tail rotor and attach it to the end of tail boom.

  • 7.

    Draw and cut out a cockpit. Show yourself as pilot! Use Crayola School Glue to attach the cockpit to the front of your helicopter. Air-dry your construction.

  • 8.

    Twist together two or three chenille sticks to create sturdy landing skids. Insert them into the bottom of the helicopter. Glue them to the body of the helicopter. Lay the helicopter on its side while it air-dries.

Standards

  • LA: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
  • LA: Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.
  • LA: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.
  • LA: Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
  • LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.
  • LA: Include multimedia components and visual displays in presentations to clarify claims and findings and emphasize salient points.
  • SCI: Construct and present oral or written arguments that use evidence to support the claim that gravitational interactions determine the motion of systems of objects in space.
  • VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of experiences and ideas.
  • VA: Select and use the qualities of structures and functions of art to improve communication of ideas.

Adaptations

  • Possible classroom resources include: Helicopters by Jeffrey Zuehlke; Choppers! by Susan E. Goodman; How the Helicopter Changed Modern Warfare by Walter J. Boyne
  • Students create sketches of basic helicopters and label major parts of the helicopter, accompanied by a brief description of the part.
  • What conflict was known as the Helicopter War? Students investigate the era of United States presence in Southeast Asia and how helicopters were used to assist military operations in that part of the world. Students prepare an electronic presentation for classmates.
  • Students investigate how the helicopter is maneuvered. If possible, invite a helicopter pilot to speak with the class about his experiences with helicopters and how to drive one! Students prepare questions prior to the interview. After the talk, students post their learning to a class blog.
  • During the mid 1500s, Italian inventory Leonardo da Vinci made drawings of an flying machine that some experts say inspired the modern-day helicopter. Students research da Vinci's sketches and analyze what appear to be the connections to today's helicopters.