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Flight on the Beach

In December 1903, the first controlled airplane flight took place over the dunes near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Recreate the Wright brothers’ Flyer and the moment that changed transportation.

  • Grade 3
    Grade 4
    Grade 5
  • 60 to 90 Minutes
  • Directions

    1. How did the Wright Brothers move from a bicycle shop in Dayton, Ohio, to flying a plane over the dunes at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina? Through their hard work and determination, these two brothers did what people dreamed of doing for thousands of years. They flew the first powered, controlled, and sustained airplane flights!
    2. Students read a book such as The Wright Brothers: How They Invented the Airplane. With Crayola® Colored Pencils, make a list of the successes and failures of these two amazing brothers. Find pictures of their Flyer. Then prepare to take off with an art project to document how the Wright brothers’ dogged determination revolutionized travel.
    3. To create the sky, color the inside of a recycled box lid using Crayola Twistables. With Crayola Scissors, cut sandpaper to fit inside the lid to resemble the sandy terrain at Kitty Hawk. Glue it in with Crayola School Glue. Air-dry the background.
    4. To make the wings and body of the Wright brothers’ plane, lay two craft sticks parallel to each other. Place four toothpicks across to form a ladder-like piece. Glue together. Repeat this process five more times. Air-dry the frame sections.
    5. Lay two frame sections flat and slightly overlapped to form the back wing. Glue together. Air-dry thoroughly.
    6. Butt two frame sections against the back wing to form the plane’s body. Glue them standing upright in the center with a parallel space between them. Glue them into place. Air-dry thoroughly.
    7. Butt a frame section onto either side of the body. Remember to leave space between the front and back sections. Glue into place. Air-dry thoroughly.
    8. On paper, draw two wings to cover the top and bottom frame sections. Cut them out. Glue the paper wings to the plane’s frame.
    9. Draw and cut out two small, paper wings for the front of the plane and two propellers for the back. Glue in place with toothpicks. Air-dry the plane.
    10. Using Crayola Model Magic, mold a pilot and an engine if you like. Knead color the from Crayola Washable Markers into white Model Magic to create the Model Magic colors you want. Glue on your pilot lying on his belly. Glue the engine to the aircraft. Air-dry before displaying.
  • Standards

    LA: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

    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: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions with diverse partners on grade level topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    SCI: Ask questions about the natural and human-built worlds.

    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: The Wright Brothers by Pamela Duncan Edwards; First Flight: The Wright Brothers by Leslie Garrett; To Fly: The Story of the Wright Brothers by Wendie C. Old; First to Fly: How Wilbur and Orville Wright Invented the Airplane by Peter Busby

    Working in small groups, students research the history of flight and the various models created the preceded the Wright brothers' inventions. Students organize their research into an electronic format. Students may include photographs of these models to accompany their presentation or create original sketches to photograph or scan and include in the presentation.

    Students extend their research to such developments as the Apollo spacecraft or transcontinental trains. What do these have in common with the Wright brothers' airplane invention?


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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