Air pressure is pushing on us all the time although we do not usually notice it. In this activity, students learn about the units of pressure and get a sense of just how much air pressure is pushing on them.
Students learn about material properties, and that engineers must consider many different materials properties when designing. This activity focuses on strength-to-weight ratios and how sometimes the strongest material is not always the best material.
Students use the scientific method to determine the effect of control surfaces on a paper glider. They construct paper airplanes (model gliders) and test their performance to determine the base characteristics of the planes. Then they change one of the control surfaces and compare the results to their base glider in order to determine the cause and effect relationship of the control surfaces.
While we know air exists around us all the time, we usually do not notice the air pressure. During this activity, students use Bernoulli's principle to manipulate air pressure so its influence can be seen on the objects around us.
The possibilities for trained pilots are varied—from piloting huge passenger jets across the ocean to guiding small aircraft for police, fire and medical operations—and the job prospects are higher now than ever.
This is a visual media resource for grades 6-12.
Students revisit Bernoulli's Principle (Lesson 1 of the Airplanes unit) and learn how engineers use this principle to design airplane wings. Airplane wings create lift by changing the pressure of the air around it. This is the first of four lessons exploring the four key forces in flight: lift, weight, thrust and drag.
The airplanes unit begins with a lesson on how airplanes create lift, which involves a discussion of air pressure and how wings use Bernoulli's principle to change air pressure. Next, students explore the other three forces acting on airplanes thrust, weight and drag. Following these lessons, students learn how airplanes are controlled and use paper airplanes to demonstrate these principles. The final lessons addresses societal and technological impacts that airplanes have had on our world. Students learn about different kinds of airplanes and then design and build their own balsa wood airplanes based on what they have learned.
Through this activity, Bernoulli's principle as it relates to winged flight is demonstrated. Student pairs use computers and an online virtual wind tunnel to see the influence of camber and airfoil angle of attack on lift. Activity and math worksheets are provided.