NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ789662
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2003
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0887-2376
Build Your Own Wright Brothers' Glider
Schimmel, Gordon; Hand, Jon; Ellis, Art
Science Scope, v27 n3 p28-31 Nov-Dec 2003
A little more than one hundred years ago, Wilbur and Orville Wright began building models of airfoils and testing them in wind tunnels in their search for an efficient wing. Models continue to be used today by aerospace engineers to prove concepts and launch dreams. To celebrate the centennial of the Wright brothers' historic flight, the authors would like to share a model airplane activity they developed as part of an inquiry unit on flight. The activity use soda-straw glider activity as part of "Total Control," the first lesson in the Inventing Flight curriculum. It is an inexpensive way to teach about problems the Wrights faced in learning to control their early gliders. The canard configuration follows the plan developed by the Wrights, one which Wilbur termed a "happy accident of design." The design enabled them to survive numerous crash landings, helping them avoid what they termed "well-digging," the sometimes-fatal spiral of a low-altitude wing stall. Students will experience some of the same frustrations and occasional successes, as they "teach their gliders to fly." The lesson focuses on pitch, yaw, and roll, as well as how to control surfaces that exemplify Newton's Third Law. The unit engages students with hands-on inquiry activities that focus on flying model airplanes. (Contains 1 figure.)
National Science Teachers Association. 1840 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22201-3000. Tel: 800-722-6782; Fax: 703-243-3924; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Ohio