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ERIC Number: EJ1052457
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 11
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9266
To Fly or Not to Fly: Teaching Advanced Secondary School Students about Principles of Flight in Biological Systems
Pietsch, Renée B.; Bohland, Cynthia L.; Schmale, David G., III.
Journal of Biological Education, v49 n1 p53-63 2015
Biological flight mechanics is typically taught in graduate level college classes rather than in secondary school classes. We developed an interdisciplinary unit for advanced upper-level secondary school students (ages 15-18) to teach the principles of flight and applications to biological systems. This unit capitalised on the tremendous biological diversity seen in powered flight (the rock pigeon, "Columba livia"), gliding (the colugo, "Galeopterus variegatus" and the flying snake, "Chrysopelea paradisi") and passive transport (the wheat rust fungus, "Puccinia graminis"). These biological systems were translated through the construction and operation of remote-controlled gliders. The unit was conducted in three parts: a 20-minute recorded video on aerodynamic principles (Part 1), a 2.5-hour session including the aerodynamic applications to biological systems and the construction of the remote-controlled gliders (Part 2), and a two-hour session for testing, calibration and operation (flying) of the gliders (Part 3). Following this lesson, students will be able to take elements from multiple disciplines and synthesise them in new ways to give original insights in answering critical-thinking questions inspired by biological flight. Introducing students to interdisciplinary approaches early in their academic careers not only enhances their present learning, but also prepares them for future interdisciplinary environments. This unit could easily be adapted by other educators to fit the needs of specific secondary school and/or college classes.
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: DEB-0919088; CMMI-1100263; DGE-0966125